February 15, 2005

Ellen Qualls
(804) 786-2211, x2379

Rick Lawrence
James Hardie
(909) 356-7455
Christie Collins
(804) 371-4074
-Siding manufacturer to invest $98 million in Pulaski plant-

RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that James Hardie, an international manufacturer of fiber-cement siding used in the construction industry, will invest $98 million to open its first Virginia plant in the Town of Pulaski. The project will create 200 new jobs within 30 months. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee for the project.

“We are making a special effort in communities like Pulaski to attract quality, stable employers like James Hardie,” said Governor Warner. “This global building materials manufacturer has found the right ingredients for success in Southwest Virginia.”

James Hardie operates in markets around the world, with manufacturing operations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Chile. The predecessor of the modern company was established more than 100 years ago in Australia and recently incorporated in the Netherlands, with its largest operations now in the United States. A publicly owned company, James Hardie is the only manufacturer that maintains a research and development center devoted solely to fiber cement technology for siding, backerboard and pipe.

“Pulaski’s strategic location on the East Coast brings us closer to our key suppliers and meets our company’s market needs,” said Louis Gries, CEO of James Hardie. “Virginia, with its pro-business climate, and in particular Governor Warner’s success in achieving fiscal stability for the Commonwealth, reinforces our company’s important East Coast expansion.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance and the Town of Pulaski to prepare the state’s proposal and negotiate an incentive package that secured the project for Virginia. Project assistance was provided by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership, and Pulaski County.

Governor Warner approved a $450,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the Town of Pulaski with the project. The company qualifies for rail access funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and road access funding from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training through its Workforce Services Program.

“The location of James Hardie in the Town of Pulaski provides important new vitality to the economies of our town, our county, and the entire New River Valley,” said Charles L. Wade, Mayor of the Town of Pulaski. “The new jobs created by the project and the total investment of the company are a vote of confidence in our workforce and in our commitment to diversify our economy.”


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