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May 27, 2004


Governor lauds increase in jobs, cites decrease in unemployment rate


ANDOVER – An upbeat Governor Mitt Romney, celebrating good news on the jobs front, today announced that Straumann AG, a Swiss medical device manufacturer, will locate its first North American headquarters in Andover, creating more than 300 new manufacturing jobs over the next five years.


The announcement follows news that the Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in the month of April. The state economy added 5,500 jobs in April on top of 2,700 new jobs in March, the first time the state has seen two consecutive months of job growth since February 2001.


"Our economic policies are contributing to the improvement in the Massachusetts employment picture, but we still have more work to do. Holding the line on taxes and creating a business-friendly environment will continue to be among our highest priorities,” Romney said.


Romney said Straumann is the kind of innovative technology company that his economic development team is committed to attracting to Massachusetts. “The opening of Straumann’s new $50 million North American headquarters in Andover will bring 160 new manufacturing jobs to the Bay State right away and more than 300 over the next five years,” he said.


Romney noted that Straumann considered seven states, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, as potential locations for its first American manufacturing facility before ultimately deciding on Massachusetts.


“We are investing in people and infrastructure to get closer to our customers in the United States and to take maximum advantage of our rising position in the market,” said CEO Gilbert Achermann. “The Andover location provides access to an important pool of scientific and skilled labor talent and enables us to house our key U.S. functions under one roof close to other leading companies in the medical device business.”


Romney praised the efforts of Team Massachusetts – a coalition of public and private economic development organizations including the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development and MassDevelopment – for working in partnership with Straumann to highlight the overall value of doing business in the Commonwealth.


As discussions between Straumann AG and Team Massachusetts progressed last year, the Governor was asked to meet personally with company executives to demonstrate the state’s commitment to new business opportunities and job creation.


Susan Houston, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development said, “Straumann’s decision to locate this facility in Massachusetts after considering multiple states is a testament to the competitive strengths we have here in the Commonwealth to support emerging technology businesses. We are pleased to have been a part of the team that supported Straumann’s decision to come to Massachusetts.”


“We must build on the cooperative spirit that brought Straumann USA to Massachusetts and apply the Team Massachusetts mentality to future deals,” said Robert L. Culver, President and CEO of MassDevelopment. “The medical device industry is too important to the Commonwealth to risk letting these firms overlook the clear advantages of doing business in our state.”


With an investment of more than $50 million over the next five years, the new site will house Straumann’s U.S. management, currently headquartered in Waltham, as well as a state-of-the-art production and development unit to manufacture high precision implants for tooth replacement. When operational at the end of 2005, the new unit will supply the North American market and will complement Straumann’s current production unit in Villeret, Switzerland, which opened in 2000.


Barbara Berke, Director of the Massachusetts Office of Business and Technology, praised Straumann’s decision to set up their North American headquarters in Massachusetts, saying, “Straumann’s decision highlights the fact that firms are beginning to realize that Massachusetts offers tangible value for manufacturing operations in addition to the readily evident advantages of our life sciences R&D cluster.”



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