Week of September 16, 2002
  Project Watch
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If VW picks a site near Jaipur, as is now rumored, it will position its first Indian plant on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway, one of the nation's highest-quality roads. The plant would be only a five-hour drive from New Delhi, center of the Delhi area, which has a population of 14 million-plus.
VW: Readying for Initial Production
Passage to India?

JAIPUR, IndiaVolkswagen (VW) won't yet confirm it, but the rumors about its pending major expansion are stacking up rapidly - and with an uncommon specificity of detail. By now, the odds seem very, very good that the German automaker is readying to announce a production passage to India, establishing its first plant in the world's second most populous nation.
        VW is looking for a site spanning some 300 acres (121.4 hectares) just outside the city of Jaipur, several Indian business magazines are speculating. Europe's No. 1 automaker will reportedly invest some US$310 million to build a manufacturing plant at that north Indian location. The operation will likely produce VW's Golf, Lupo and Polo models, auto industry analysts are conjecturing.
        India represents virgin manufacturing territory for VW's familiar name plate. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based giant has no Indian production facilities.
        The company did appear on the nation's production landscape last year, but only through its Czech-based subsidiary, Skoda Auto. Skoda in 2001 opened an assembly plant in Aurangabad in west-central India. The Aurangabad plant is currently producing some 3,000 units a year of the Octavia, Skoda's entry in the luxury-auto market.
        VW's first Indian plant would be advantageously positioned if the company confirms current rumors and picks pick a site near Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan state.
        That would place the production facility on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway, one of India's highest-quality roads. The Jaipur site would also position the plant only a five-hour drive from New Delhi, the nation's capital and the center of an area with a population of 14 million-plus.

Plant Part of Three-Pronged Indian
Expansion Strategy, Analysts Speculate
VW's maiden plant near Jaipur will likely be only one part of a larger, three-pronged push to substantially increase the automaker's Indian presence, industry analysts are predicting.
        In addition to the Jaipur plant, VW is reportedly considering a substantial increase in its Skoda plant's production volume. Skoda, which VW bought from the Czech government in the 1990s, is coming off its best year, with some 463,000 units sold in 2001. Western Europe accounted for almost half of Skoda's 2001 sales.
        A third part of VW's anticipated Indian strategy would involve introducing Scania's line of commercial vehicles into the national market. VW holds a 34 percent stake in Scania, a Swedish-based truck manufacturer.
        That three-part push into India would come as VW is experiencing slowed sales in its three major markets. The automaker's western European market share slipped to 18.2 percent in the first half of 2002, while its U.S. share dropped to 9.5 percent, and its Brazilian share fell to 27.1 percent.

Fibermark logo
Vermont-based FiberMark, which has some 1,900 employees, registered $394.3 million in sales in 2001, an annual increase of 10.9 percent.
Incentives Help FiberMark Decide to Expand in Upstate New York, Closing Rhode Island Plant

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – Drawn by Empire State incentives, FiberMark has chosen Lowville, N.Y., as one location of choice in the company's operational consolidation. The Brattleboro, Vt.-based maker of specialty fiber-based materials has announced that it will add 85 new employees in a $7.5-million, 90,000-sq.-ft. (8,361-sq.-m.) expansion of its existing plant in Lowville, which currently employs 129 workers.
        From a proportional perspective, the 85 new jobs register strongly on the economic seismograph in Lowville, a city of only some 3,500 residents.
        "This is an economic development home run for the residents of Lewis County," said Dennis Mastascusa (R), chairman of the Lewis County legislature.
        "FiberMark's decision to invest in upstate New York and bring new jobs to Lowville is tremendous news," said Gov. George Pataki (R).
        But New York's good news was not good for FiberMark's existing plant in Johnston, R.I. The Rhode Island operation, which employs 140 workers, will close as a result of the company's decision to instead expand at its New York plant.
        The Johnston and Lowville plants are both specialty-paper operations, producing decorative covering materials that are used in premium packaging and book covers. FiberMark acquired both plants in April of 2001, when it bought Rexam Decorative Specialties International (DSI).
        The company had earlier decided to close one of the acquired DSI plants as part of its broader consolidation strategy. New York's incentives helped tip the decision toward the Empire State, company officials said.
        "This is a challenging economic environment for making new investments, and the state of New York has provided tremendous support to help us make this happen," said FiberMark Chairman and CEO Alex Kwader.

Spokesperson: $10M in Incentives?
FiberMark will be eligible for a wide variety of incentives, state development officials said. Those incentives, they explained, include a $500,000 capital grant from Empire State Development; a $350,000 grant from Lewis County; and a $750,000 grant from the Governor's Office for Small Cities. The company would be eligible for other incentives by virtue of expanding in a state Empire Zone.
        FiberMark expects to realize $2 million in state grant funding for its expansion, company officials said in announcing the project. A company spokesperson, however, told The Providence Journal that state incentives for the FiberMark project may total as much as $10 million.
        The consolidation in New York will save the company some $5 million a year, FiberMark officials said. Those savings will be fully realized by fourth-quarter 2003, they added.
        "Expansion activities will begin in Lowville immediately," Kwader said. "We expect to complete building construction in early 2003." The 85 new positions will be added over the next 18 months, he added.
        The Rhode Island plant will fully close down by the summer of 2003, FiberMark officials said. All Johnston plant employees will be given an opportunity to apply for the jobs that will be added in Lowville, which lies northeast of Utica.
        The Johnston plant's closing is the third shutdown that FiberMark has announced over the last year in implementing its consolidation strategy. FiberMark in August of 2001 announced that it would shutter its Fitchburg, Mass., facility, and in May announced that it would shut down its West Springfield, Mass., production operation.

SunGard mobile recovery centers
Sungard's disaster-recovery services include "mobile recovery centers" (pictured), which can turn a parking lot into an IT center.
SunGard Adding $104M Expansion to New York-Metro Disaster Recovery Network

CARLSTADT, N.J. – The New York metro's disaster-recovery network is getting bigger with SunGard Availability Services' (SAS) announcement of its $104-million, 100,000-sq.-ft. (9,290-sq.-m.) expansion of the company's operations in Carlstadt, N.J. SAS's experience in 9/11/01's aftermath triggered the expansion of the company's New Jersey facilities. Wayne, Pa.-based SAS, which provides information technology solutions for the financial services industry, worked with 47 client firms after Sept. 11.
        One of the major points that 9/11 underscored, explained SAS CEO Jim Simmons, was the need for recovery operations large enough to house both client companies' employees and their corporate information technology in the same facility.
        "One of the lessons learned from Sept. 11 was the need to keep people and information connected," Simmons said. "With today's technology you can get your information to a recovery facility faster than you can get your people there. With the right strategy in place, you can have your systems configured, your data restored and the facility ready to go by the time your employees arrive, ready to work."

New Center Can Hold 1,000 Employees
SAS's expansion will create fully furnished offices that can be used by more than 1,000 employees for client firms. In addition, 2,000 sq. ft. (185.5-sq.-m.) of the expansion will be dedicated to high-availability services and secure infrastructure, including pre-wired redundant telecommunications and uninterruptible power supply units.
        "SunGard focuses on information availability because our goal is not just to protect our customers' data; but, rather, it's to enable them to keep their businesses running, no matter what," Simmons said. "This new facility gives our customers more options for work-group recovery and high-availability services that will enable them to attain a higher level of information availability."
        The expansion in Carlstadt, which will also include 24-hour security monitoring, will add to SAS's existing 600,000-sq.-ft. (55,740-sq.-m.) network of data center facilities in the New York metro. About half of that existing square footage is located in New Jersey.
        SAS's New York-area presence represents about 20 percent of the company's three-million-sq.-ft. (278,700-sq.-m.) worldwide portfolio of data centers.
        SAS, which employs some 8,700 workers, recorded some $2 billion in sales in 2001, a 16-percent increase from 2000 revenues.


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