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Signe Velina, Market Access Manager Latvia of Johnson & Johnson
In pursuit of an even stronger position in the global market, one of Europe's leading fiberglass manufacturers, JSC Valmieras stikla šķiedra, is planning to expand its line of fiberglass and its products manufactured at Valmiera Glass USA Corp., which is located in Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, in the United States. Over the next six years, as part of the expansion project, the company's management is planning to create 425 new jobs at its U.S.-based production facility and to invest USD 90 million (EUR 80 million) by using the company's own funds and attracting loans from lo-term partners.
As early as the spring of 2014, Valmiera Glass Group announced plans to invest USD 20 million in its U.S.-based production facility and to hire 150 employees. The second phase of the Group's development plan envisages the creation of an additional 425 jobs and the investment of USD 90 million through 2022. As a result of this expansion, Valmiera Glass USA Corp. will become the largest employer in Laurens County and a leading manufacturing company in the central-eastern region of Georgia.
Andre Schwiontek, Chairman of the board at JSC Valmieras stikla šķiedra, says that the expansion of the company's U.S. production facility is a development-oriented strategic step on the part of the Valmiera Glass Group that will provide American customers with a broader range of products, shorter delivery times and better service, while at the same time securing more competitive production costs for the manufacturer.
"The fiberglass industry and its related markets have been developing rapidly over the last few years. Demand for fiberglass products has increased, while the company's productive capacity can barely meet existing demand. Our expansion in the United States is a solution to this problem. We will improve our manufacturing stability and gain advantages provided by the U.S. state investment incentive program and energy prices," Schwiontek explains.
According to Dr. Fred Williams, Chairman of Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority, "Valmiera's [Glass USA Corp.] Phase II expansion is one of the largest and most exciting economic development wins in the history of Dublin-Laurens County. Over 400 families will be positively impacted by this decision, and we are so thankful to the company and all of our local, state, and federal partners for helping us secure these new jobs."
The newly created jobs will require highly qualified and trained personnel. The initial training will be conducted by a team of fiberglass-industry professionals from Latvia. Furthermore, for the training of potential employees, the Valmiera Glass Group is going to establish a dedicated training center at the Oconee Fall Line Technical College. The college will provide suitable training premises, while the Group will support the provision of equipment to be used for training in state-of-the-art manufacturing.
"Simultaneous development is scheduled for Valmiera and Great Britain, such as an investment of 5.5 million euros in 2016 for the modernization and development of production processes, as well as the improvement of productivity and quality at Valmiera. Nevertheless, in light of Latvia's energy policies, we have decided to create 425 jobs in the United States instead of Latvia," Schwiontek explains.
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Rauls Vēliņš, General Manager, Roche Latvija