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Barr Laboratories, a subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, is planning a $62 million expansion at its facility in Forest.
Barr first came to Bedford County in 1996 and County Administrator Kathleen Guzi noted that it has expanded ever since. The company started with 22 employees and now employs 500.
"The fact that it continues to expand shows that they are committed to the community," Guzi said.
Guzi notes that the company has provided high paying, good quality jobs and she notes that it makes other contributions. Barr gives two scholarships to Jefferson Forest High School graduating seniors who plan science careers. The company also supports area non-state agencies such as Poplar Forest and the National D-Day Memorial.
The expansion will augment existing production lines, also enhancing the company with a new timed-release technology for solid dosage pharmaceuticals.
Sue Montgomery, the county's director of economic development, said that this will be a two phase expansion. The first phase, with a $32 million price tag, will begin this year and be completed in 2011. It will create 129 jobs. The second phase, costing $30 million will begin that year and wrap up in 2013. It will bring 91 jobs.
"This is exactly the type of thing we want," said Montgomery, noting that Barr is a clean industry.
"We've been involved with it since the fall," Montgomery went on to say.
Montgomery worked with the state's marketing manager. The state partners with localities to attract business to Virginia or provide incentives for existing business to expand. Part of this is a $200,000 state grant that is matched by a $200,000 local grant. This helps pay for the costs associated with the expansion. In order to get this, the company signs an agreement stating how much it will invest and how many jobs it will create.
Other incentive money includes a $500,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership and a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The Tobacco Commission grant provides training assistance. Another $198,000 state grant from the Jobs Investment Program will help with hiring and retention.
"The growth and health of our existing companies is very, very important," Montgomery said.
Barr Labs is the largest non-public employer in Bedford County. It is also one of the county's largest taxpayers.
Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: BRL) is a global specialty pharmaceutical company that operates in more than 30 countries worldwide and is engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. A holding company, Barr operates through its principal subsidiaries: Barr Laboratories, Inc., Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and PLIVA d.d. and its subsidiaries. The Barr Group of companies markets more than 115 generic and 25 proprietary products in the U.S. and more than 1,200 products globally outside of the U.S.
?Since our purchase of the 50-acre site in 1996, we have continued to significantly expand our facilities and the number of jobs we provide in Forest, Virginia,? said Bruce L. Downey, Barr?s chairman and chief executive. ?We currently employ more than 500 people in our Forest facility, manufacture products for our global operations and distribute our products throughout the U.S. With the exceptional assistance and cooperation of the Governor?s office and officials of Bedford County, as well as the high quality of our workforce, we plan to add production and packaging capacity that will allow us to continue to effectively compete in the global pharmaceutical marketplace.?
Barr has nine offices/facilities in the U.S. and several facilities in Europe. Annual sales currently exceed $2 billion.
?Barr Laboratories is Bedford County's largest and strongest company, and has grown steadily since its location to the Commonwealth in 1996,? said Governor Timothy Kaine in making the announcement last week. ?The company has thrived in the region; to date Barr has invested more than $115 million in its Virginia facility and has more than 500 employees. Barr Laboratories is a great corporate partner and I look forward to its continued success.?
Local officials welcomed the news.
?We are delighted that Barr has chosen Bedford County as the site for this significant expansion,? said Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Arrington. ?Barr is one of our most highly valued businesses, and their decision reinforces our claim that Bedford County offers the right business climate together with a superior quality of life. Expanding here can only mean good things for Barr and for Bedford County.?
State lawmakers agreed.
?The Barr Labs expansion is exactly the type of initiative that those of us on the Tobacco Commission want to encourage, and is a very smart investment for the Commonwealth,? said Virginia Del. Kathy Byron, 22nd District. ?Barr has proven to be a strong, vibrant partner for our region, and one of an increasing number of success stories for Southside.?