Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) and the City of Dayton today announced that the company will open a food distribution facility in the Northwest Industrial Park next year. Hormel Foods will invest $15 million in the facility, machinery and equipment, and will maintain an inventory estimated at $25 million. The 140,000-square-foot distribution facility will employ 125 full-time employees and will serve as a distribution center for a variety of products manufactured at Hormel Foods plants throughout the United States.

Products will be shipped from this distribution center to customers in the eastern one-half of the U.S. Refrigerated and frozen foods handled by this facility will include Cure 81® ham, Always Tender® fresh pork and Hormel® fully cooked entrees, Little Sizzlers® pork sausage and various Hormel® bacon and dry sausage items.

"This new facility will enable us to meet growing consumer demands for our refrigerated and frozen consumer-branded products through improved customer service," said V. Allan Krejci, vice president of public relations for Hormel Foods.

The project has been nurtured by the cooperative efforts of the City of Dayton; the State of Ohio; the Dayton Regional Development Alliance; and the Montgomery County Economic Development and Government Equity (ED/GE) Program.

"This is certainly exciting news for the City of Dayton," Mayor Michael R. Turner said. "Adding a major international company like Hormel Foods to the Northwest Industrial Park illustrates how attractive Dayton is for companies that are establishing new business operations. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, companies are looking for environmentally safe land, new infrastructure systems and easy access to major transportation routes, and Dayton can offer all of that at a competitive price."

"Hormel Foods Corporation is an important member of Ohio's business community and we appreciate the economic contribution the company has made in our state," Governor Bob Taft said. "Ohio is dedicated to fostering business growth in the state. The Ohio Department of Development worked closely with local officials to establish a plan to move the project forward in the Dayton area."

Pending final approval by the authorized agencies, the State of Ohio's Department of Development will assist the expansion by providing $400,000 for roadway infrastructure, $200,000 for water and sewer improvements, and $62,500 for job training for employees. State assistance is contingent upon final approval from the Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit Authority and/or the State Controlling Board. The City of Dayton and the Montgomery County ED/GE program have approved $300,000 each for roadway and infrastructure improvements.

Hormel Foods Corporation is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of meat and food products. The 109-year company has annual sales of $3.26 billion and employs 12,200 people worldwide, including subsidiaries.

"We are very excited about becoming part of the Dayton community," said Krejci. "We looked at many possible sites to locate our new distribution facility and found that Dayton offered the best package. It has been reassuring to see how the City of Dayton, the Miami Valley region and the State of Ohio worked together to meet our needs and convince us that Dayton is where we want to be."

Stephen Lake, President of the Dayton Regional Development Alliance, said, "We are pleased that Hormel Foods has decided to locate their new distribution facility here in Dayton. Their decision illustrates what can happen if we all work together as a region to meet a company's operational and employment needs."

Expansion Management magazine has ranked Dayton in its list of top 50 business-friendly communities. Dayton was listed in the publication's 1999 "Hottest Cities In America" issue, citing communities that "sizzle ... when it comes to attracting business."

A groundbreaking event for the facility will be scheduled sometime this month.