AVONDALE, La., Aug. 22, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announced today that its Ship Systems sector and the state of Louisiana signed an agreement for an approximately $112-million modernization program at the sector's Avondale Operations.
Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster, Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems president, and Avondale Operations Vice President George Yount joined Louisiana Secretary of Economic Development Don Hutchinson yesterday in turning over the first spades of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Foster, who, along with the Louisiana state legislature, was instrumental in securing approximately $56 million in state funding to complement Northrop Grumman's equal capital investment, credited Avondale's workers as the main focus of this agreement.
"I want to thank Avondale's employees for being the type of productive people who make it possible for a company like Northrop Grumman to come here and stay here," said Foster. "It's because of employees like you, who are proud of their work and who do it right the first time, that companies want to come to Louisiana."
Avondale Operations employs approximately 6,800 people statewide. The modernization program will result in greater production capabilities and increased efficiencies, creating the potential of growing the New Orleans workforce by several hundred people over the next four years.
"We recognize that the combination of capital and labor investment; using modern, reliable, precision equipment, coupled with quality people; will develop a quality workplace, with quality jobs to build quality ships for the best customer in the world," said Dur.
The state funding dedicates $39 million toward the purchase of new, automated panel line equipment, and four new, heavy-duty cranes, as well as $16.85 million for various workforce-training initiatives.
Northrop Grumman's capital investment will be used to integrate the new panel line equipment, upgrade the electrical distribution facilities, purchase new manufacturing equipment and machinery, and upgrade computer software and hardware for the design and construction of ship programs.
"This project is a realization of the goals set forth in Louisiana: Vision 2020. Academia and government have joined with industry to support and strengthen our economy. The cooperative endeavor agreement formalizes that partnership and sets a framework for retaining and creating jobs in our state," said Hutchinson.
"The hard work and dedicated efforts of many individuals and organizations have come to fruition in the signing of this agreement that will lead to the modernization of this shipyard and the retention of thousands of jobs for workers here in Louisiana," said Yount.
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; New Orleans and Tallulah, La.; as well as a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. The sector, which currently employs more than 18,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.
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CONTACT: Ed Winter Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (504) 436-5253