The H. J. Heinz Company (NYSE: HNZ) today announced it will build a new manufacturing facility in Florence, S.C., to support its high-growth frozen meals business in North America. Heinz will operate the new 225,000-square foot state-of-the-art factory that will create 350 new jobs.
Our frozen meals business is growing rapidly and the new facility is a sign of our commitment to supporting and sustaining this growth, said Dave Moran, EVP, President and CEO of Heinz North America. The new facility will allow us to increase production of our Weight Watchers Smart Ones and Boston Market frozen entrées to meet the growing consumer demand for our high-quality frozen meals.
We are thrilled that Heinz chose Florence, S.C., as the location for its new frozen food factory, which will create 350 new jobs in the community over the next five years, said Frank Willis, Mayor of Florence.
Heinz conducted a comprehensive search that included several locations in multiple states before selecting South Carolina. The site in Florence County was chosen for a number of reasons, including the positive business environment and the quality and quantity of available skilled labor in the area. The support Heinz received from city, state and government officials during the location evaluation process helped in determining the final site for the facility. The partnership developed between Heinz and the community during the planning process is one that will continue to grow long after the facility begins operations.
As we work to compete in a global economy, South Carolinas ability to attract world-class companies is increasingly important, said Gov. Mark Sanford. Its a sign of our success that we can include Heinz among the companies that have chosen South Carolina as the site for a major manufacturing facility.
Heinz selected a 49-acre site in the Pee Dee Touchstone Energy Commerce City, South Carolinas premier business/industrial park. The park is a shovel-ready site that has been certified by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
As a state senator and resident of Florence County, I am delighted that Heinz has chosen to establish a manufacturing presence in our community, said Senator Hugh K. Leatherman. Heinz joins a growing list of blue chip companies that recognize the competitive business benefits the Pee Dee region provides. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship for many years to come.
The Florence, S.C., location also will allow Heinz to better serve its customers through the Companys Southeast and Northeast distribution centers.
This is a great day for Florence County, stated Florence County Council Chairman, K.G. Rusty Smith. Heinz is an outstanding company with an impeccable reputation that will provide quality jobs for the citizens of this community. The Heinz name is one of the most recognizable in the world, and we are proud and honored to have the Company as our newest corporate citizen.
This is yet another example of what can be accomplished when everyone is working toward a common goal, said Dr. Charles Gould, chairman of Florence County Economic Development Partnership. Without the support of our many partners and allies, as well as our private sector members, Florence County Progress, todays announcement would not have been possible.
Ground breaking for the facility is scheduled for summer 2008 and construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009. Heinz North America employs more than 10,000 employees.
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