Lawmakers, Economic Development Officials Tour Louisiana Rubber Recycling Plant

No emissions manufacturing plant highlighted for its unique “green” technology 

VIDALIA, La., August 12, 2009 – Representatives of Advantage Capital Partners and two dozen business leaders, elected and local economic development officials were led on a guided tour of Louisiana Elastomer (LAEL) for a firsthand look at the company’s environmentally friendly rubber recycling technology.


U.S. Congressman Rodney Alexander, along with District 21 Rep. Andy Anders and District 32 Sen. Neil Riser were shown the special process used at Louisiana Elastomer that turns old tires into new virgin-like material. Company representatives demonstrated a process that is not only “green,” but results in a product that is superior to traditional rubber products. “What customers care about is their bottom lines, and we don’t have to pay people to go out and tap trees all day,” said LAEL Chairman Ron Lane.


Michael Johnson, Advantage Capital managing director has called the firm’s investment in Louisiana Elastomer an “exciting business opportunity,” and one that will soften the blow of the economic slowdown in Concordia Parish. Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland pointed to numerous economic development opportunities, including the possibility of attracting tire companies working with the new automobile plant in Monroe, Louisiana.


LAEL’s CEO Mike Wells emphasized the environmental impact the company is having, noting studies that show “for every 100 tires that are recycled, just over six barrels of oil are saved because of the petroleum products and the energy saved in the process.”  The process of recycling tires at the Vidalia facility allows for more recycled material to be made into new rubber products, such as conveyor belting, industrial rollers and tread rubber for new and re-capped tires.


The investment in Louisiana Elastomer was made in connection with the Louisiana New Markets Development program, an economic development tool designed to encourage investment in small businesses located in distressed communities throughout the state.

Louisiana Elastomer has already begun exporting its product to China, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Germany. Advantage Capital Partners, and its small business lending unit BizCapital, provided the $6.5 million construction loan for the new facility.


About Advantage Capital Partners

Advantage Capital Partners ( is a leading venture capital and small business finance firm focused on early stage companies and other investments supporting state and local economic development efforts. With offices and partners in New Orleans, St. Louis, Austin and other U.S. cities, Advantage has raised more than $1 billion since 1992 and invested in companies located in geographic areas underserved by traditional venture capital.


About the Louisiana New Markets Development program

The Louisiana New Markets Development program encourages investment in small businesses located in distressed communities throughout the state and particularly those communities in the GO Zone still recovering from the devastation of the hurricanes of 2005. The program enables up to $400 million of capital investment in Louisiana’s small businesses. The state program attracts investment in low-income communities through a state tax credit modeled after the federal New Markets Tax Credit.



Print this post