GOVERNOR WARNER ANNOUNCES NEWPORT NEWS AS WOLSELEY NORTH AMERICAN HEADQUARTERS
-Company to invest at least $30 million and create more than 400 new jobs-
NEWPORT NEWS - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that Wolseley, the world's largest specialist trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials to professional contractors, will invest more than $30 million to build a 220,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Newport News. This new location will eventually add more than 400 new jobs to the area. Virginia successfully competed against North Carolina for the project.
“This project has enormous significance for Newport News and Virginia,” said Governor Warner. “I talked with Chip Hornsby, CEO of Wolseley North America, several times during this process as the deal moved forward. For the company to select Newport News for its first North American headquarters speaks volumes to the business climate and quality of life that Virginia offers.”
Claude “Chip” A.S. Hornsby said the announcement is one of the most significant in the history of the company. “This project is very important to Wolseley’s future, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Newport News. We feel this is a ‘win-win’ for all involved: the local communities in which we live and work, our associates, and most importantly, our customers. This centralized location will enable our leaders to accelerate our vision of providing our customers with the most comprehensive offering of products and services available in the building industry. The new Wolseley North America headquarters will allow us to increase our opportunities for leveraging our resources while adding value to our customers.”
Wolseley plc is the world's largest specialist trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials to professional contractors in North America, the UK and Continental Europe. Group sales for the year ended July 31, 2005 were approximately $20.8 billion. Wolseley is listed on the London and New York Stock Exchanges (LSE: WOS.L, NYSE: WOS) and is in the FTSE 100 index of listed companies. Wolseley’s global corporate headquarters is located in Theale, England, and the company operates nearly 3,900 branches in Europe and North America and employs more than 60,000 associates in 14 countries, including more than 1,600 associates currently in Hampton Roads.
The Wolseley North America organization is comprised of Ferguson Enterprises, a Virginia-grown company acquired by Wolseley in 1982 and headquartered in Newport News; Stock Building Supply, acquired in 1986 and headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Wolseley Canada, previously Westburne, acquired by Wolseley in 2001 and headquartered in Burlington, Ontario. Each of the three companies will continue to operate from its respective offices.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Newport News to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Warner approved a $1,050,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Newport News with the project. The Governor also approved $3 million in funds from the Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG). Wolseley will be the second recipient of funds from VEDIG, established as a self-funded program of performance-based incentives that the Commonwealth awards to exceptional economic development projects with large numbers of employees and very high wages relative to average wages for that particular area.
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael Schewel said, "Governor Warner sponsored the VEDIG legislation two years ago to give Virginia a tool to attract headquarters-type operations and similar business units that employ a lot of people and pay particularly high wages. Wolseley is the perfect case for the use of that incentive program." The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through its Workforce Services Jobs Investment Program.
The Industrial Development Authority of the City of Newport News (NNIDA) will be selling Wolseley a ten-acre site of prime real estate. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, because it is locating in a Virginia Enterprise Zone. The NNIDA will also be providing Wolseley with a local Enterprise Zone incentive with an estimated value of at least $1.2 million.
“We are very pleased and excited that Wolseley, North America has chosen Newport News to be the headquarters for its North American operations,” said Joe Frank, Mayor, City of Newport News. “The City of Newport News has had a long and productive history with Ferguson Enterprises, Wolseley’s largest subsidiary. Ferguson has been an excellent corporate citizen and has delivered outstanding benefits to this community. Wolseley’s decision to locate its North American corporate operations in Newport News is just another sign of this City’s transformation and its growing attractiveness for knowledge-based companies of all types.”