Week of September 16, 2002
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VW: Readying for Initial Production
Passage to India?
JAIPUR, India Volkswagen (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.
Plant Part of Three-Pronged IndianVW'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.
Expansion Strategy, Analysts Speculate
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Center Can Hold 1,000 EmployeesSAS'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.
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