Week of August 19, 2002
  Project Watch
PET packaging
PWP's new facilities in West Virginia and California will make the company the largest U.S. company that manufactures PET packaging (pictured) for the bakery and fresh-cut produce industries.
PWP Locating 130-Employee
PET Plastic Plant in West Virginia

MINERAL WELLS, W. Va. – Familiarity didn't breed contempt for PWP Industries, which has announced that it will build a new 130-employee manufacturing plant in Mineral Wells, W. Va.
        The California-based producer of PET plastic packaging for the food industry will spend some $10 million in renovating a 120,000-sq.-ft. (10,800-sq.-m.) shell building. The facility was sitting vacant in Mineral Wells, which is located in the Mountain State's southern region. PWP is purchasing the structure from the Parkersburg/Wood County Area Development Corp.
        Work-force quality, customer proximity and local and state support for the project were all major decision factors, explained Leon Farahnik, chairman of HPC Industries, PWP's parent company.
        "I have been especially pleased with the assistance we've received from Gov. Wise and from local and state economic development agencies," Farahnik said. "The work force in West Virginia is outstanding, and the proximity of this new location to our customers will improve our delivery time. All the support we've received has made it very easy for us to locate again in West Virginia."
        "West Virginia's strong commitment to business and solid reputation has drawn a highly respected company," said West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise.

Governor: Earlier Project Also a Major Factor
An earlier positive experience in the state, Wise said, was likely also a major deal maker in leading PWP Industries to the location in the Parkersburg-Marietta, W. Va.-Ohio metro.
        "PWP Industries' principals previously owned a manufacturing facility in Wheeling," the governor explained. "That prior successful experience assured company management of another profitable venture."
        PWP's newest facility in Mineral Wells will help make the company the largest U.S. producer of PET packaging for the bakery and fresh-cut produce industries, PWP officials said.
        PWP's production capacity is also getting a boost in the company's relocation of its headquarters and an existing manufacturing facility, both of which are located in California. The company is staying in the Golden State, and it isn't moving far with its dual migration. PWP is relocating both operations from the city of Buena Park to the city of Vernon, which is located some 20 miles (32-kilometers) to the northwest of Buena Park.
        The larger facility in Vernon will facilitate a substantial increase in the company's California-based manufacturing volume, company officials said. The headquarters staff completed its move into to the new Vernon facility in June. The PWP production plant is relocating in phases in order to ensure a smooth transition, company officials said.

Portland, Oregon
Veeco FEI's expansion decision keeps one of the most prominent members of "Silicon Forest" in place in Portland (pictured).
Veeco FEI Ends Relocation Speculation, Buys New
Oregon Campus for
Nanotechnology Expansion

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Moving firms with operations in the Portland, Ore., metro can stop prospecting for Veeco FEI Company's business.
        Ending hot speculation that a recent merger might spur an East Coast relocation, Veeco FEI has purchased a new site in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro, where the nanotechnology company is headquartered. Veeco FEI will now consolidate its existing Portland-metro operations at the new location, and it's planning to add 150 more employees at the site.
        Veeco FEI's move quells local fears that the Portland area might lose one of its most prominent - and first - high-tech firms.
        "We are very excited to announce the purchase of our new Oregon campus," said Vahe Sarkissian, chairman, president and CEO of Veeco FEI. "FEI was founded in Oregon in 1971 and was one of the original companies in the Silicon Forest. We have both contributed to and benefited from the strong local technology base, the excellent quality of support and transportation services, and an enviable overall quality of life for our employees."
        Veeco FEI has purchased a 27-acre (10.8-hectare) campus in Dawson Creek Park. That campus already includes two existing buildings: a 68,000-sq.-ft. (6,120-sq.-m) structure that the company will use for offices and a 112,000-sq.-ft. (10,080-sq.-m) facility that it will use for R&D and manufacturing, including space for a clean room and demonstration labs.
        Veeco FEI will invest $23 million in buying the site and making tenant improvements. Veeco FEI officials called the new site "semiconductor-ready" and a perfect fit for the company's expansion needs.
        The facilities on the Hillsboro campus were originally built for Tokyo Electron. The site became available after Tokyo Electron decided to move its Oregon operation back to its home base in Japan.

Sarkissian: Merger Will Accelerate Local Growth
Veeco FEI has 350 existing employees in the Portland area, who are currently dispersed in five separate operations. Those 350 employees will relocate to the new campus in Dawson Creek Park, Veeco FEI officials said. In addition, the company said that it will add 150 or more new employees at the site "in the next few years."
        Some observers doubted whether Veeco FEI would remain in Oregon after the late July merger between FEI and Woodbury, New York-based Veeco Instruments. The union, forged through a stock deal valued at about $1 billion, would prompt FEI to relocate its operations on the East Coast, the thinking went.
        That proved to not only not be the case; the merger will also be the catalyst for Veeco FEI (the merged company's new name) to expand in Oregon, said Sarkissian.
        "Our merger with Veeco is about creating a new company and growth," he said. "We believe the merger will accelerate growth prospects of the new company and create new opportunities for our employees."

Merger a Marriage of Equals
FEI and Veeco officials called the merger a marriage of equals, with two complementary product lines that don't overlap. The two merged firms will together have 2,900 employees located in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The Veeco operations that were based in Woodbury at the time of the merger will remain in New York, company officials said.
        FEI prior to the merger fared much better than many other high-tech firms during the tech-sector slump. In the past five years, FEI's revenues have grown from $169 million to $376 million, including a 17 percent increase in 2001.
        The company's nanotechnology products have continued to be in demand from semiconductor manufacturers continually working to shrink the size of their chips. FEI makes structural process management systems, which employ ion beams to analyze and diagnose sub-micron structures in semiconductors, data-storage components, and biological and industrial compounds. Philips Electronics owns 25 percent of the company.

Kia Sorento SUV
The Kia pickup trucks that will be assembled in North America will likely use the platform of the automaker's new Sorento SUV (pictured). The projected cross-platform plan is part of Hyundai's strategy to reduce the number of platforms in all Hyundai and Kia vehicles from 23 to seven by 2005.
Kia Says It Will Build First North American Plant in Next Few Years

SEOUL – Another foreign firm is poised to join the North American auto-expansion juggernaut. Following the lead of parent Hyundai, Kia Motors has disclosed that it will build an assembly plant on the continent in the next few years, possibly as soon as 2004.
        Kia officials didn't conjecture about where the new North American plant might be located. They did, however, note that the company would most likely chose a U.S. location.
        The prospect of Kia's plant is sure to pique interest in myriad North American areas, particularly in Michigan and Mississippi.
        Hyundai has an existing R&D center in Detroit. And the company made its big North American expansion splash last April, when it announced that it is locating a new US$1-billion, 2,000-employee auto assembly plant just south of Montgomery, Ala. Gov. Don Siegelman called the decision by Korea's No. 1 automaker "the biggest economic development project in the history of Alabama."
        Scheduled for completion in the first half of 2005, the project will add Korea to the list of nations with U.S. auto plants. Germany and Japan already have companies that are based within their borders that have auto plants in place in the United States.

U.S. Sales of 300,000 Would Trigger Project
The magic number that will trigger Kia's plant is 300,000. Annual U.S. sales of 300,000 vehicles would prompt the company to accelerate planning for a North American assembly plant, Kia officials said.
        Kia is fast closing in on the 300,000 figure for U.S. sales. After selling 223,721 vehicles in the United States in 2001, the company is on a pace to record more than 260,000 U.S. sales this year.
        A joint Hyundai-Kia task force has been investigating the feasibility of locating such a facility since last year. High-level officials on that task force reportedly include Kia Motors America President Ahn Byung-mo and Hyundai Motor-Kia Motors Chairman Chung Mong-koo.
        Kia's measured approach to expanding in North America is understandable, history suggests. While still a separate firm, Kia grew to become Korea's No. 3 automaker. But the company's overly ambitious expansion, along with Asia's economic meltdown, sent Kia into bankruptcy in 1998, when it was acquired by Hyundai.
        The two ex-competitors are now merging their platforms for greater efficiency. Hyundai officials have announced that by 2005 Hyundai and Kia will reduce the total number of platforms from 23 to seven for all of the vehicles that are made under both names.
        The pickup trucks that Kia will assemble in North America will likely use the platform of the automaker's new Sorento SUV, company officials said.


©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.