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March 26. 2012 10:48PM

Webster Valve's expanded operations will add 100 jobs in Franklin

FRANKLIN — With Gov. John Lynch on hand, city officials officially broke ground on a new building at Webster Valve Inc., which company owners say will bring 100 jobs to the city.

Watts Water Technologies Inc., which operates Webster Valve, is building the new 30,000-square-foot building to accommodate new workers as part of its transfer of manufacturing operations from plants in China.

“It makes me proud, as a New Hampshire resident and an American, that you have been able to bring your product lines back from China and bring jobs back from China,” said Franklin Mayor Kenneth Merrifield.

Watts Water Technologies, founded 138 years ago, has its headquarters in North Andover, Mass.

The company manufactures valves and other water-control products. With 6,000 people employed at the company's 70 facilities around the world, the Franklin foundry, with 400 employees, is the company's largest manufacturing plant in North America.

The original Webster Valve plant was established on 42 acres of land in Franklin after Watts outgrew the capabilities of its original Lawrence, Mass. manufacturing plant. Webster Valve has undergone 16 expansions in the past 51 years, and has grown in employees from 30 to more than 400.

In 1977, a 44,000-square-foot foundry was added, and in 2003, Watts also added a 43,000- square-foot Regional Distribution Center to the Franklin plant.

N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development officials have been working with Watts officials for several years on the project.

Lynch cited the dedication of the workers as a reason why Watts continues to expand in Franklin.

“We very much appreciate the investment Watts continues to make,” Lynch said. “Watts could have chosen to expand anywhere and it's a vote of confidence to all of you that it's chosen to expand this facility right here in New Hampshire.”

The company is phasing in manufacturing of what it calls a new generation of lead-free water-control products at the Franklin plant.

“This investment will support our ability to make high quality products which meet the lead-free requirements that come into effect in January 2014,” said David Coghlan, president and CEO of Watts Water Technologies.



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