June 06, 1997

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Announces Westvaco's Decision to Expand
-- Paper Manufacturer To Invest Additional $117 Million in Covington --

Covington - Governor George Allen today announced that Westvaco Corporation will invest $117 million for the expansion of its Covington paper mill in Alleghany County. Two separate projects will increase operating efficiency at the mill and will provide essential support for future production increases.

"This investment confirms that Virginia has a business environment where companies can grow and succeeed so that Virginians and their families can thrive and prosper," said Governor Allen. "Westvaco's decision is also a great compliment to the character, work ethic and productivity of Virginians in the Highlands. This is great news for Westvaco, their employees and shareholders, their customers, and for all Virginians."

This expansion consists of two major projects. The first involves a $47 million investment, expanding Westvaco's woodyard operations in Covington to enhance safety, increase production capacity and improve the quality of the mill's wood fiber. The second investment totals $70 million and will pay for a second lime kiln to be installed, increasing the mill's ability to efficiently recover and reuse chemicals used during the papermaking process. Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the fall of 1998. Approximately 400 temporary construction-related jobs will be created from this expansion. Westvaco currently employs nearly 2,000 people in the Alleghany Highlands.

Westvaco has invested more than $1 billion in Virginia over the last 10 years, and employs approximately 3,400 workers throughout the State. Westvaco, a manufacturer of paper, packaging and specialty chemicals, sells its products to customers in more than 70 countries throughout the world. Westvaco operates facilities in the Alleghany Highlands and Richmond. In 1994, Westvaco relocated a corporate administrative center from New York to Chesterfield County which resulted in over 250 new job opportunities.

"This is a very important occasion for Westvaco's operations in Virginia, a vitally important State to our company," said John A. Luke, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Westvaco. "As we move toward the new century, I'm especially proud of the Covington Mill's past successes and I'm tremendously excited about the mill's future. This is a solid operation with a superior workforce -- one that will continue to add to Virginia's prosperity."

Governor Allen presented an engraved silver plate to John A. Luke, Jr., as a symbolic token of the State's appreciation. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Authority and the City of Covington assisted the company with its decision.

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