June 23, 1997

Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
Governor Allen Announces BluePrint Automation Group Expansion into Chesterfield County
-- Netherlands Deal Results in $3 Million Permanent Investment, 20 New Jobs - - Port Agreement Betwee-

Rotterdam, Netherlands- - Governor George Allen today announced that BluePrint Automation Group, a Dutch case packaging company, will invest $3 million to establish a manufacturing facility in Chesterfield County. The facility, which will create 20 new jobs, will be located in the Appomattox Industrial Park in a Chesterfield County Enterprise Zone, which was created with the Governor's approval in 1995.

"BluePrint Automation is recognized as a leader in the manufacture of automatic case packaging machines," said Governor Allen. "I am pleased that BluePrint is casting a vote of confidence in Virginia's future by investing in a permanent facility in the Commonwealth."

BluePrint Automation Group has purchased 19 acres in the Appomattox Industrial Park to construct a $3 million facility, creating 10 new jobs immediately, and 10 more in the near future. In 1987, BluePrint Automation Group leased space to establish a manufacturing subsidiary in Henrico County to develop, design and assemble packaging machines. This facility, which has grown to 59 employees, will be relocated to Chesterfield County as part of the expansion.

BluePrint Automation Group was established in 1980 as a one-man operation in Holland to manufacture automatic case-packing machines. Governor Allen was joined today by Mr. Bob Prakken, founder and CEO of BluePrint Automation, in making the announcement. Mr. Prakken's son, Martin Prakken, currently operates the Henrico facility, and will oversee the expanded facility.

"After being in Virginia for 10 years and seeing the enormous industrial growth in the Richmond area, we knew Virginia was the place to become our home," said Martin Prakken.

Governor Allen also announced today an information and interchange agreement with officials from the Port of Rotterdam. The Governor described the agreement as an "alliance between two ports." The Port of Rotterdam is the most technologically advanced port in the world.

Economic ties between the Netherlands and Virginia are very strong, and accounted for $202.6 million in exports during 1996. Figures through 1996 show cumulative Dutch investment in Virginia totaled $206 million, representing 24 enterprises and 1,500 jobs.

Governor George Allen and First Lady Susan Allen are currently leading a 15 day trade and investment mission to Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. More than 40 Virginia business leaders are joining them for all or part of the mission.

Governor Allen has outlined four major goals for the mission; 1) seek additional foreign investment for Virginia; 2) provide an increased understanding of European business markets and expanded trade opportunities to Virginia business executives; 3) promote shipping through Virginia ports; and 4) market Virginia as an inviting destination for tourists.

Since 1994 Governor Allen and First Lady Susan Allen have led business delegations on six trade missions to Canada, Mexico, Europe, East Asia and the Middle East. These missions have produced more than $112 million in new investments and over $64 million in sales of Virginia products and services.

The Governor and First Lady are scheduled to return on June 28.

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