Major Valpo employer named Australia's biggest private firm

Visy Industries and Pratt Industries Chairman Anthony Pratt welcomes Indiana Governor Mike Pence to the companies new recycled paper mill earlier this year.

Valparaiso’s largest private-sector employer has again been named the biggest private firm in Australia.

Visy Industries, the parent company of Pratt Industries USA, topped IBISWorld’s list of Australia’s Top 500 Private Companies. Visy had $5.7 billion in revenue last year, a 1.8 percent increase over the previous year.

IBISWorld’s report found Visy was much larger than its nearest competitor in Australia, Co-operative Bulk Handling, which made $3.83 billion last year.

Visy’s American subsidiary Pratt Industries USA has invested nearly $500 million in Valparaiso since 2000. The recycled paper company employs around 500 workers in its corrugated box factory and recycled paper mill next door, which opened earlier this year. Pratt recycles paper from across the Midwest to make boxes for Home Depot, Amazon, the Albanese Candy Co., Procter & Gamble, 3M, Nestle, Unilever, Prestone, and the Pampered Chef, among other clients.

Last month, Forbes named Pratt Industries USA one of America’s largest private companies with $2.5 billion in revenue. Forbes ranked Pratt 181st overall all, and one of only 24 companies that were started in 1985 or later.

“I’m so proud of what this company and this team have achieved,” Company Chairman Anthony Pratt stated. “We have gone from being the 46th largest corrugated packaging company in America to the 5th – and we are poised for even more growth in the years ahead.”

The Pratt corrugated box factory in Valparaiso was dedicated by former World Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali on July 15, 2000. Ali and Pratt were friends. The recycled paper mill was opened earlier this year with help from Indiana governor and now U.S. vice presidential candidate Mike Pence.

The recycled paper mill will save an estimated 69,000 trees a day, or enough to cover 120 football fields.

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.