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Major Expansion in Mahoning Valley to Create 350 Jobs

Major V&M Star expansion in Youngstown to bring 350 jobs to Mahoning Valley

Youngstown, OH - Feb. 15, 2010--Calling it a pivotal step in the rebirth of the Mahoning Valley’s economy, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber lauded Vallourec & Mannesmann’s announcement today that the company will invest $650 million to build a new state-of-the-art small diameter rolling mill in Youngstown, Ohio and create 350 direct high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing.

“It’s truly fantastic that as the U.S. emerges from a very difficult recession, the Mahoning Valley is selected as the site for one of the largest manufacturing expansion projects in the country,” said Tom Humphries, President and CEO of the Regional Chamber.

“We believe this project will not only significantly transform a once-proud steel-making area in Youngstown and Girard, but will be a catalyst for spin-off jobs while boosting the Youngstown-Warren area worldwide as a great place to locate or expand a business,” Humphries added.

Vallourec, the Paris, France-based parent corporation of V&M, said the new mill, totaling more than 1 million square feet of space, will initially produce 350,000 tons of steel tubing per year for the drilling of shale gas in the U.S. and particularly in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The annual rolling capacity of the new mill will reach 500,000 tons of seamless tubes. Operations are expected to start by the fourth quarter of 2011, the company said.

The major project by V&M also will spur V&M’s plans together with community organizations to transform the old industrial area along U.S. Route 422 to a green industrial zone that will be a model for industrial developments in the U.S., the Chamber President said.

Humphries noted that the Regional Chamber worked closely with V&M officials for nearly two years to bring this multi-faceted economic development project to fruition and praised the diligent work of the Chamber’s Economic Development Team headed by Walt Good, Vice President of Economic Development, Business Retention and Expansion.

“A project of this magnitude is a game changer. This state of the art, one million plus square-foot-facility positions the Youngstown area at the forefront of today’s global advanced manufacturing environment. V&M evaluated sites throughout North America for this project and they decided to invest here. That says volumes about the strategic advantages our area affords,” Good said.

Humphries recognized Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich, Girard Mayor James Melfi and the city councils of Youngstown and Girard for working together in a spirit of collaboration to forge an intergovernmental agreement that was a key in moving the project forward.

The agreement, which included annexation of Girard land to Youngstown, will result in the two communities sharing income tax revenues from V&M employees working in the new plant. The two cities also will share income tax revenue from the estimated 500 construction workers who will be working at the expansion site over the next two years.

The Girard City School District will receive more than $1 million annually in new property tax revenues because of the expansion.

“While negotiations were difficult at times, in the end, leaders of the two communities came together for the benefit of the entire Mahoning Valley. For their efforts, I truly thank them,” Humphries said.

Humphries also thanked U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Gov. Ted Strickland and members of the Valley’s state legislative delegation for their significant roles in obtaining $20 million in federal stimulus funding for the critical site and rail work that was needed to make the site ready for plant construction.

“Our federal, state and local leaders all worked together in a united Valley front to get the major stimulus funding. Without this funding, this project probably would not have gone forward,” Humphries said.

Humphries also said the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Public Utility Commission of Ohio played important roles in approving decisions that made the V&M expansion project possible.

These various factors projected a positive, business-friendly environment on the state and local levels that was necessary in helping V&M make its key business decisions, Humphries said.

The announcement of the V&M expansion will give the Mahoning Valley and Ohio huge amounts of positive publicity around the U.S. and world and will work well to enhance ongoing Chamber initiatives to market the Valley in the U.S. and around the world.