Week of July 8, 2002
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While DaimlerChrysler Decides, Jacksonville, Fla., Lands Two Other Auto-Industry Projects
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Jacksonville, like a host of other cities, has ardent auto-industry aspirations. That much is plain in the city's current hot pursuit of DaimlerChrysler's 3,000-employee van plant. As of this writing, however, it remains to be seen whether DaimlerChrysler will choose the Florida city - or, instead, another contending finalist site in Charleston, S.C. or Savannah, Ga.
Relocating the American operations base from Northern Indiana to the Southeast "would make us more competitive, we felt," explained Wilson, accompanied by Automotive Group General Manager Pierfredrico Cancarini, the son of C.F. Gomma's founder. Gomma reportedly gave serious consideration to sites in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina - states with strong existing auto-industry clusters.
Jacksonville, however, got the linked relocation nods, explained Wilson, because it "will provide us with a number of benefits. The region is a hub serviced by interstate highways and a dynamic deepwater port," he continued, "both of which will allow us to deliver parts more efficiently to our clients. In addition, Jacksonville offers a qualified and skilled work force."
Gomma was particularly attracted to Jacksonville's port facilities, which Wilson called "the East Coast's best and biggest."
City's Sixth HQ in 2002Gomma will relocate its dual operations inside a 160,390-sq.-ft. (14,435.2-sq.-m.) existing facility in Northwest Jacksonville. Occupying 145,000 sq. ft. (130,500 sq. m.) of that space, the brake hose assembly plant will employ 125 of Gomma's 250 total Jacksonville employees. Most of the Jacksonville jobs will be filled by local hires; the company has said that it will transfer fewer than 10 existing employees from its Indiana operations.
The headquarters/manufacturing facility is now undergoing renovations, with operations expected to go online by fourth-quarter 2002. More jobs could be coming. If Gomma achieves projected U.S. growth levels, the Jacksonville venture might add 100 more positions over the next few years, company officials said.
City business recruiters were pleased with the project's implications for attracting both global and auto-industry operations.
"This announcement strengthens Jacksonville's international presence and expands our automotive business community," said Steve Halverson, chairman of the Business Recruitment Standing Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce's Cornerstone regional marketing program. The Cornerstone program promotes Northeast Florida's Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
Strikingly similar sentiments came from Kirk Wendland, executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, which promotes Duval County. "C.F. Gomma´s commitment to Jacksonville not only elevates our international presence, but also serves as a catalyst for other businesses in the automotive-related industry considering relocation," Wendland said.
Gomma's Jacksonville project also extends the city's hot streak in attracting headquarters. The Italian company's relocated base marks the sixth headquarters that Jacksonville has landed in only the first six months of 2002.
Four previous projects in this year's headquarters blitz have been relocations: Alstom Power, which relocated from Windsor, Conn.; Basis 100, which relocated from Irvine, Calif.; National Grange Mutual Insurance, which relocated from Keene, N.H.; and Paladin Claims Recovery, which relocated from Houston.
2002's The city's fifth previous headquarters project came from a brand-new company: Florida Machine Works, a fabrication firm created by New Jersey-based D.R. Kenyon & Son.
BMW's Jacksonville regional parts distribution center will serve some 45 BMW and Mini Cooper dealerships in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. The $12-million center will initially employ 50 workers, most local hires, BMW said.
Greater, though, is the sum of the auto parts that the center will distribute. The 136,000-sq.-ft. (12,240-sq.-m.) operation in Westside Industrial Park will house an inventory of some 70,000 different items.
BMW looked at half a dozen Southeast states before picking the 16-acre (6.4-hectare) Jacksonville site, company officials said. "The southeast part of the U.S. continues to be a strong market for BMW Group, and we are committed to providing our dealers and our customers with the best possible service," explained Hans Duenzl, BMW of North America vice president of aftersales and engineering.
Incentives, BMW officials explained, were a major difference maker in the decision, separating Jacksonville from Brunswick, Ga., the other final contender. City officials approved a $575,000 package for BMW's project. Of that total, $325,000 is an economic development grant; $250,000 is a state road fund grant.
The center will likely expand to 200,000 sq. ft. (18,000 sq. m.) in 2006 or 2007, adding 30 additional workers, BMW officials said. The Jacksonville facility will begin operations by late 2002, the company anticipates.
In landing BMW, Jacksonville is adding a Tennessee company as well. Nashville-based logistics firm Ozburn Hessey will operate the center, directly employing most of its workers, BMW said. The Jacksonville center joins BMW's existing U.S. regional parts distribution centers in Mt. Olive, N.J.; Ontario, Calif.; and Senatobia, Miss.
Will Create 100 New Jobs
SAINT-LAURENT, Quebec It's a Montreal location, and it's worth it, L'Oreal has decided.
That paraphrase of L'Oreal's often-heard ad tag line is evident in the new metro-Montreal expansion plan that the world's largest cosmetics company is mounting. The company late last month announced a multi-pronged, $65.3-million expansion that will create 100 new jobs over the next three years in the city of Saint-Laurent.
Manufacturing Capacity to DoubleThe manufacturing and distribution expansions will account for the lion's share of the new jobs, said L'Oreal Canada officials.
The company's Saint-Laurent plant will grow from 135,000 sq. ft. (12,150 sq. m.) to 256,000 sq. ft. (23,040 sq. m.), an enlargement that will double production capacity. With the capacity expansion, the plant will be able to produce some 150 million units a year for the company's L'Oreal Professionnel, Matrix and Redken brands. Montreal-headquartered L'Oreal Canada is projecting a May 2003 completion date for the manufacturing expansion.
The muscled-up manufacturing capacity will facilitate the company's plans to export more L'Oreal Canada products. The added output at the Saint-Laurent plant will be exported to 15 countries, L'Oreal officials said.
L'Oreal Canada's bulked-up production is, in turn, triggering the company to more than double the size of its Saint-Laurent distribution center. The facility will be expanded from 170,000 sq. ft. (15,300 sq. m.) to 370,000 sq. ft. (33,300 sq. m.).
Distribution Center Includes FirstThe Montreal-metro distribution center also includes the first daycare operation ever established within L'Oreal's far-flung network of subsidiaries. Quebec's Ministry for the Family and Childhood provided assistance in helping L'Oreal Canada establish its daycare center.
Daycare Center for L'Oreal's Subsidiaries
"Our investments and our development in Quebec are made with careful attention to our associates," L'Oreal Canada President and CEO Jochen Zaumseil commented at the daycare center's opening. "The expansion and modernization of our work environments, as well as the customized services offered to our employees, were made possible through the government's assistance. We are very proud today to be the first subsidiary in the L'Oreal Group to offer a daycare service in the workplace. This will contribute to the well-being of our associates and to harmonious family life."
L'Oreal Canada ranks as the country's largest cosmetics company, with 1,200 Canadian employees. L'Oreal's Canadian subsidiary recorded net sales of some $364 million in 2001.
In a decision driven partly by the ongoing India-Pakistan conflict, Indian software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has announced that it's opening a new subsidiary in China. The Chinese subsidiary, Tata Information Technology, will be headquartered in Shanghai.
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