Hitchiner announces $50 million expansion

Manufacturer unveils plans to build 85,000-square-foot facility in Milford


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His company’s expansion ‘is good news for Hitchiner, our employees, our community and the state,’ says Chairman and CEO John Morison.

Hitchiner Manufacturing Co. Inc. is announcing plans to expand its New Hampshire operations with the construction of a new 85,000-square-foot facility on the company’s Elm Street campus in Milford.

The company on Wednesday said the expansion represents a multi-phased $50 million capital investment and will house operations to support new growth in markets Hitchiner currently serves. The project is contingent on securing financing and permits from the town and state.

Hitchiner said it expects that the expansion will mean the eventual creation of an estimated 85 permanent jobs at Hitchiner.

In announcing the project, Hitchiner Chair and CEO John H. Morison said the expansion came about with the help of both the state and local governments, but not without some corporate soul-searching.

Citing difficulties that face New Hampshire manufacturers – most particularly energy costs, which he called a “high hurdle” – said the “decision to invest in the state did not come easily.” But the help of state and local officials helped pave the way toward the decision to expand.

“Over the last several months, we developed a business plan for the new facility. The plan compared the cost of building and operating the plant in Milford against other states,” he said. “When compared to these states, New Hampshire was at a distinct disadvantage vis-a-vis building costs, state and local taxes and energy costs. We obviously had a large gap that we needed to close if we were to build here.”

In February, he turned to the governor’s office, officials of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, the Business Finance Authority, the Department of Environmental Services and the town of Milford to hash out details of the expansion proposal.

As a result of the talks, he said, “we identified the necessary steps for permit compliance, state-supported financing options, workforce training assistance and state and local property tax relief for industrial and economic development.”

Put together, Morison said, “we were able to identify opportunities that, once realized, will help mitigate the risk of investing in New Hampshire, which made the decision to stay here in Milford possible.”

The expansion, which is scheduled to begin later this year, “is good news for Hitchiner, our employees, our community and the state,” he said.

But, beyond Hitchiner, Morison warned that the state will have to do more to make New Hampshire a “more attractive and competitive state” for businesses.

He pointed to the need to support workforce development, “encouraging and supporting young and old alike to acquire new technical skills” and “to consider competitive and sustainable business profits and property tax rates that make starting new businesses or expanding existing ones feasible.”

He added that, “perhaps most critically, we need to develop competitive and reliable sources of commercial energy so that businesses, manufacturers in particular, can grow the state’s economy.”

Hitchiner has been in business since 1946, when the privately held company was established in Manchester. Today, the company employs more than 675 people in Milford, where it produces investment castings for the aerospace, defense and automotive industries.

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