Virginia Expansions To Create Total $34M Investment

A Germany-based automation solutions manufacturer is expanding in Newport News, while a peanut processor grows in Suffolk.

Mühlbauer Inc. will invest $9 million to expand its operations in the City of Newport News, VA. The U.S. subsidiary of Germany-based Mühlbauer Group and automated machinery producer will make upgrades to its facility in Oakland Industrial Park and increase capacity by adding new production equipment. The company also considered Oregon for the project, which will create 32 new jobs.

“We started our success in Virginia 25 years ago and would like to continue our path in Virginia. We have grown to love this area and the Virginians,” said Josef Mühlbauer, Founder and CEO, Mühlbauer Group. “Our company has always appreciated the support we have received from the City of Newport News as well as the State of Virginia. Mühlbauer is also very proud that the Virginia Driver License is manufactured and personalized with Mühlbauer equipment.”

Virginia business expansions
(Source Adobe Stock by Peter Hermes Furian)

The Mühlbauer Group manufactures automated machinery for use in making chip-based cards, RFID labels, or smart tags, in addition to inspection equipment for currency and semiconductor chip production. The company has around 4,000 employees worldwide and operates centers in the United States, Germany, Malaysia, China, Slovakia, and Serbia. In 2009, Mühlbauer Inc. expanded into a 30,000-square-foot facility in Oakland Industrial Park, which serves as a base for all its North American activities.

“Mühlbauer’s decision to upgrade and expand its operation demonstrates the renewed trust manufacturers have in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Mühlbauer has a history of success in the City of Newport News, which fosters an impressive business climate to attract and retain a robust manufacturing industry. We thank the company for its investment and long-term commitment to the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Newport News, the Hampton Roads Alliance, and the Port of Virginia to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Youngkin approved a $227,700 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Newport News with the project. The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Support for Mühlbauer’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by VEDP in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Governor’s administration and the Virginia General Assembly. Launched in 2019, the program accelerates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services that are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.

“We are proud to have Mühlbauer on Virginia’s corporate roster, and congratulate the company on its success in Newport News,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The Commonwealth offers the location, infrastructure, and robust workforce to attract and retain global companies like Mühlbauer that choose Virginia as a launch point into the North American market, and we look forward to a continued partnership.”

“The Alliance was proud to work with the City of Newport News, the Port of Virginia, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to support Mühlbauer’s expansion of their North American headquarters,” said Douglas L. Smith, President & CEO, Hampton Roads Alliance. “Mühlbauer’s decision to expand their Newport News facility once again is further proof that international companies and advanced manufacturers see the Hampton Roads region as an ideal location to do business. This announcement also shows the importance of working with our existing businesses to support their efforts to grow and expand in the Commonwealth.”

“When a Virginia-based manufacturer like Mühlbauer invests to expand its operations there are tangible benefits to the state’s economy, to the job market, and for The Port of Virginia,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “We are making significant infrastructure investments to help companies like Mühlbauer to safely, reliably, and consistently move production equipment and parts for their manufacturing operations. We congratulate Mühlbauer on its expansion and look forward to continuing to serve as its international supply chain partner for years to come.”

Historic Peanut Processor Expands In Suffolk

Birdsong Peanuts, a cornerstone company of Virginia’s peanut industry for more than 100 years, will invest $25.1 million into its peanut shelling facility in the City of Suffolk. Birdsong’s investment to refurbish and automate its production lines will make its Suffolk facility one of the most modern and efficient of the company’s five shelling plants that stretch from Virginia to Texas.

“Birdsong Peanuts chose to reinvest in Suffolk because our corporate headquarters is here, there is a thriving peanut producer base here, there is good access to domestic and export markets, and also because of the region’s talented workforce,” said Charles Birdsong, President, Birdsong Peanuts.

“When long-term corporate partners like Birdsong Peanuts reinvest in Virginia, it underscores that Virginia is open for business,” said Gov. Youngkin. “Birdsong has positively impacted the region’s economy and Virginia’s agriculture industry for over a century. This market leader facility expansion reinforces Suffolk’s reputation as the ‘peanut capital of the world.’”

The VEDP and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the City of Suffolk to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Youngkin approved a performance-based grant of $250,000 from the Virginia Investment Performance Grant, as well as a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund to assist the city with the project.

“The Virginia peanut is perhaps the Commonwealth’s most famous contribution to world cuisine and few families have done more than the Birdsongs in bringing Virginia peanuts to the world,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “It is always a cause to celebrate when we see companies make major investments into the infrastructure that supports Virginia’s farmers, but this is especially true when that investment is being made by a homegrown, family-owned business in support of one of our most iconic agricultural products. I thank the Birdsong family for their commitment to the Commonwealth and look forward to their next 100 years of growth and success.”