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December 12, 2017

Poland Spring added $201 million directly to Maine economy in 2016

Photo / Lori Valigra Poland Spring Water Co.'s total economic impact on Maine in 2016 amounted to more than $390 million, according to a commissioned report released by the company on Tuesday

Poland Spring Water Co.’s total economic impact on Maine in 2016 amounted to more than $390 million, according to a commissioned report released by the company on Tuesday.

The $391.4 million total breaks down into a direct impact of $201.6 million; an indirect, supply chain impact of $154.5 million; and a worker-spending impact of $35.3 million.

Poland Spring, which is owned by Nestlé Waters North America Inc., operates bottling plants in Poland, Hollis and Kingfield, where it invested $25 million this year to add a bottling line. It maintains eight spring sources across Maine.

The report comes at a time when the company, as announced in March, evaluates three potential sites in Maine for a $50 million to $60 million bottling plant at would create 40 to 50 jobs: Lincoln, Rumford and the greater Fryeburg area. 

As of June 2016, the company employed 861 people in Maine, an increase of more than 200 jobs since 2005. That ranks the company No. 45 as a private employer in Maine and the No. 6 manufacturing employer, behind Bath Iron Works, Pratt & Whitney, S.D. Warren Paper, IDEXX Laboratories and New Balance.

Impact in rural areas

The report highlights Poland Spring’s impact in individual counties where it has operations:

  • In Androscoggin County, its plant in Poland is the 12th largest employer overall and the third largest manufacturer, behind Pioneer Plastics and Tambrands.
  • In Franklin County, its plant in Kingfield is the 20th largest employer overall and the 4th largest manufacturer, behind Verso Paper, Jarden Plastics and Maine Wood Turning.
  • In York County, its plant in Hollis is the ninth largest employer overall and the second-largest manufacturer, behind Pratt & Whitney and just ahead of Corning Medical Products.

“The days of single manufacturers employing thousands of people and providing an economic backbone for rural Maine are gone,” Charles Lawton, the York-based economist who was commissioned to conduct the study, said in a statement. “The structure of Maine’s economy has transformed over the past 30 years, which is why the continued growth of Poland Spring is so critical to the communities where the company does business.”

A full-time Poland Spring employee has an average salary and benefits package of nearly $54,000, which exceeds the state’s all-industry average wage of $41,000 and compares favorably with the state all-manufacturing average wage of $53,700.

Future growth

Looking at what’s ahead for Poland Spring, the report finds that it faces a growing national market and is “actively exploring” for more sites from which to draw spring water and additional bottling-plant sites.

Strategic estimates of capital expenditures required to meet future production goals show increases for four of the next five years, and potential total investment over the next five years of more than $150 million, the report notes.

It concludes that “Poland Spring’s plans for Maine represent an expression of confidence in the future of its operations in Maine and thus an opportunity for the state to see growth not just in the jobs at Poland Spring but in the entire range of indirect, induced and fiscal impacts that constitute the company’s overall economic impact on Maine.”

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