The announcement of anchor tenant ABB, one of the largest engineering companies in the world, for the multimillion-dollar business park development at the Hawke's Bay Airport ''ticks all the boxes'', says Business Hawke's Bay CEO Murray Douglas.
''It is an old company in one sense but it is still part of the modern economy,'' he said.
''It is an international company that is highly innovative - and will put up a very nice building too.''
The Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation, which has its headquarters in Zurich, operates mainly in the areas of power, automation and robotics.
The ABB group of companies operates in about 100 countries and has been in New Zealand for over 75 years. It has three manufacturing facilities in New Zealand: Distribution transformers in New Plymouth, medium voltage switchgear
in Auckland and power electronics in Napier.
Napier MP Chris Tremain said ABB's planned state-of-the-art research and development facility is great news for Hawke's Bay. ''It's great to have such innovative businesses in the Bay, such as ABB, continuing to invest in our future,'' he said.
''What's really great to see is the growth in jobs. ABB has been slowly increasing jobs with two or three at a time. Overall ABB has created significant new employment opportunities for the Bay.''
Four years ago ABB purchased the Napier-based power electronics company Vectek Electronics. The business has
expanded rapidly and now has a staff of about 130.
ABB's Napier business has global responsibility for power protection and power conversion products which they design, manufacture and sell globally.
Products range from voltage conditioners, to protect some of the world largest semiconductor (silicon chip) manufacturing plants, through to frequency converters allowing ships to connect to shore power while at port.
Construction of the 6500 sq m airport facility will be undertaken by Arrow International which has engaged Napier's Paris Magdalinos Architects and Hasting's Strata Group Engineers to deliver the facility under a design and build contract.
The facility is expected to be completed early in 2013. John Penny, ABB Napier general manager, said he was pleased with the airport site.
''As an export company, the proximity of the airport is important because both freight and passenger services are key to our operations,'' he said.
''In 2011 we consigned 581 shipments of 88,555 kg of airfreight and spent $350,000 on air travel, not including those who came to visit us by air. The site and new building will be convenient for our international customers and also help reinforce our leading edge brand.''
The new facility will lift New Zealand's research, design and manufacturing sector as a whole, Grant Gillard, managing director of ABB New Zealand said.
''ABB is very committed to New Zealand with three manufacturing plants and over 700 people employed. Although we only make up a small percentage of ABB's 145,000 employee global work force, we are very proud to be recognised as a centre for innovation and a major export earner for New Zealand.''
The airport's 20ha business park is the result of hard work by its board and the airport business development manager, Wayne Wootton, and fits in with a wider regional development strategy of Business Hawke's Bay to have a
range of business parks.
Mr Wootton said more potential tenants were ''pending'' and his target was to sign on about six more in the next three years, as part of stage one of the airport expansion plan. Hawke's Bay Airport would invest $4 million into infrastructure expansion, covering 5ha of the business park.
Last August Mr Wootton set himself a 12-month target to attract another passenger carrier to Hawke's Bay Airport, breaking Air New Zealand's monopoly.