February 05, 2003

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Anita Gambill
(757) 486-9151
Jill Lawrence
(804) 371-0049
-Governor Warner announces Virginia-based company’s expansion plans and 200 new jobs-

VIRGINIA BEACH - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that STIHL Inc. will expand its operations in Virginia Beach. Through an investment of $60.8 million, the company will create 200 new jobs. STIHL’s investment includes the construction of a 228,000-square foot addition to its U.S. headquarters in the Oceana West Corporate Park. Virginia successfully competed with Brazil, China, and Germany for the project. Governor Warner made the announcement at an event this morning at the company’s headquarters.

“STIHL is a worldwide manufacturer, exporting its outdoor power equipment from Virginia Beach to more than 70 countries,” said Governor Warner. “I applaud this decision by STIHL to increase its manufacturing investments, create more jobs in Virginia, and keep more jobs in the United States.”

STIHL manufactures the world's largest selling brand of chain saws and portable, hand-held, cut-off machines, as well as a complete line of outdoor power equipment for homeowners and professional users. STIHL Inc. is a subsidiary of German-based STIHL Holding AG & Co and one of seven manufacturing facilities in the STIHL Group. The Virginia Beach complex is currently located on over 60 acres with more than half a million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space. STIHL Inc. employs approximately 1,100 people in Virginia Beach in a variety of positions from machining/product assembly/molding, manufacturing engineering, sales & marketing, and finance.

STIHL Inc. began manufacturing at the Virginia Beach facility in 1974 with about 50 employees. The manufacturing area was expanded in 1983 and again in 1990 to its current size. In October of 1996, STIHL opened a new 50,000-square-foot warehouse facility to house finished goods for worldwide distribution. The expansion will be carried out in three phases over the next two years and includes the purchase of 14.34 acres. New positions created will be in the areas of manufacturing, engineering, quality assurance and marketing.

“Since arriving here more than 25 years ago, STIHL Inc. has constantly pursued the most innovative manufacturing methods possible. Our expansions and manufacturing investments are driven by our need to keep pace with growing customer demand for our products around the world. The highly skilled and dedicated workforce in Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads has been key to successfully keeping pace with this demand,” said Peter K. Mueller, Executive Vice President of Operations at STIHL Inc. “As always, we are exceedingly grateful to the City of Virginia Beach and the Governor’s Office for their ongoing support.”

Governor Warner approved a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Virginia Beach with the project. STIHL Inc. qualifies for a $700,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) program. The VIP program offers financial assistance to existing Virginia companies proposing significant expansion projects. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the City of Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development and the Virginia Beach Development Authority assisted STIHL Inc. with its decision. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide workforce training services.

“STIHL is one of the oldest and certainly the largest manufacturer in the city,” noted Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf. “In fact, the company’s nearly 30-year history here is almost as long as the city’s. That means we’ve practically grown up together, and what a phenomenally successful journey it’s been for us both. Today’s announcement is highly significant for our city and our state, not only for the investment and well-paying jobs involved, but also because of its timing. In these challenging economic times, it is remarkable that STIHL has decided to continue expanding in our city with a project of this magnitude. We will do our best to help keep the future bright for STIHL and for our citizens.”


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