Charleston region attracts new, alternative energy company; Germany’s IMO Group to service U.S. from local facility

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2010

The IMO Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of slewing rings and slew drives, as well as experts in the machine and plant manufacturing sector, announced today that it has selected the Charleston region of South Carolina for its first U.S. facility. Its local operations, to be called IMO USA Corp., will ultimately employ 190 workers and generate $47 million in capital investment. The company plans to occupy a currently vacant building in Dorchester County’s McQueen Industrial Park.

Headquartered in the South of Germany, the family-owned IMO has been named one of “Bavaria’s Top 50” companies and listed among Europe’s 500 fastest growing companies for several years in a row. The company’s slewing rings are used in many applications, including blade, yaw and single main bearings for wind turbines up to 5+ megawatts; blade bearings for tidal stream systems; and slewing rings for construction machinery, tunneling and mining, medical technology and ship building. IMO’s patented slew drives are used in manlift platforms, solar tracking, cranes and as steering gears. The company also offers products and solutions for the machine and plant manufacturing sector as well as in environmental technology.

In seeking IMO’s first U.S. home, executives were focused on locations within three hours of a major seaport, with access to a major airport, and with a 40,000-square-foot, move-in ready facility. They also sought a region with technically trained and academically prepared workers. The company will utilize the Port of Charleston for both importing materials and exporting products and will service multiple markets from its Dorchester County operation including the U.S., Europe and Asia.

With over 20 years experience in the alternative energy sector, IMO serves customers worldwide, including several of the top ten wind turbine manufacturers. Company officials acknowledge that a recent grant for a wind turbine testing facility, awarded to the Clemson University Restoration Institute, reconfirmed IMO’s decision to locate in the Charleston region.

“South Carolina is well known throughout Germany as a good place to do business,” said Rüdiger Unverzagt, CEO of IMO USA Corp. “Charleston’s strong port coupled with its strengthening profile in alternative energy gave us complete confidence in our decision to come here.”

This competitive expansion project was facilitated by the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) in partnership with numerous public- and private-sector allies including the S.C. Department of Commerce, Dorchester County and the German American Chamber of Commerce. The CRDA is an economic development organization working to advance the economy within the three-county Charleston region.

CRDA Chairman Mitchell Bohannon welcomed the news. “With our focus on building a globally competitive regional economy, IMO is just the sort of dynamic company we want to bring to the tri-county region. Armed with 20 years of experience, and focused on the exciting future of alternative energy, IMO promises to contribute quality jobs, quality products and quality thinking to this community.”

“We are delighted to make an economic development announcement such as this and to welcome another international company to Dorchester County. IMO is a strong and growing company that will become a top-notch facility within one of our most important industry sectors,” said Jamie Feltner, Chairman of Dorchester County Council. “Economic development is critical to supporting County services by supplementing the tax base and supplying additional revenue to the school district. The County has put together a very aggressive and innovative economic development strategic plan and team, and hopefully this is just one of many project announcements to come this year.”

“Today’s announcement by IMO speaks to the progress our state and Dorchester County in particular are making in the global race for jobs, capital investment and way of life,” said Gov. Mark Sanford. “I’d offer special thanks to the team at Commerce, local officials and economic developers for their hard work, as this announcement represents yet another substantial dividend from our state’s continuing efforts to increase our competitiveness and improve our state’s business climate. For that, and for the immediate and positive impact this substantial investment will bring to Dorchester County, I’d join with many across the state in welcoming IMO to South Carolina.”

IMO anticipates its Dorchester County facility will be open by July 2010. IMO will be filling a variety of highly skilled positions including jobs in: engineering, production, sales and quality assurance. Those interested in applying for positions should visit the S.C. Tech Jobs Web site at www.sctechjobs.com or contact the Dorchester One Stop Career Center at 843.821.0695 or visit their office at 2885 W. 5th North Street in Summerville.

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About IMO Group
The IMO Group was founded 1988 in Gremsdorf, South of Germany. IMO has more than 20 years experience in designing, manufacturing and supplying Slewing Rings and self-contained Slew Drives. Solutions in the machine and plant manufacturing sector complete the range. IMO is family-owned and managed by its proprietor.

IMO achieved “Bavaria’s Top 50” award by the Ministry of Economy and has been recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in Europe (“Europe’s 500 – Champion of Growth”) multiple times. Currently more than 1,000 employees work for IMO. In 2008 IMO achieved a turnover of approximately 200 million Euro.

The IMO Group comprises:
IMO Anlagenbau GmbH & Co. KG
Future-oriented products and solutions in the machine and plant manufacturing sector, engineering and implementation of challenging turnkey projects. Single axis and two axes solar trackers and solar home systems are developed and implemented in addition to standard and customized machines.

IMO Antriebseinheit GmbH & Co. KG
Design, manufacturing and sales of hydraulically and electrically driven Slew Drives. Applications are for example: Manlift platforms, tunnel boring machines, cranes and solar energy applications.

IMO Energy GmbH & Co. KG
Design, manufacturing and sales of ball and roller Slewing rings for renewable energies. Applications are: Blade, Yaw and Main Bearings for wind turbines and Blade Bearings for tidal stream systems.

IMO Momentenlager GmbH & Co. KG
Design, manufacturing and sales of ball and roller Slewing rings in diameters from 100 mm up to 5200 mm. Applications in construction machinery, cranes, medical technology, materials and bulk handling.

IMO Holding GmbH
Central departments like Human Resources, Training, Finance, Central Purchasing and Marketing are based in this company and supply their services to the affiliated companies.

To learn more, go to www.goIMO.com.

About the Charleston Regional Development Alliance
The Charleston Regional Development Alliance works in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties to develop a resilient, globally competitive regional economy. The CRDA leads a global marketing effort to retain and attract world-class business and talent, and to facilitate new, high-value business investment within the three-county area. The CRDA also partners with other organizations to drive a sustainable regional development effort. To learn more, go to www.charlestoneconomicdevelopment.com.

Media Contacts:
IMO Group
Andrea Meissner
Direct +49 9193 6395-1188,
marketing@imo.de

Charleston Regional Development Alliance
Virginia Perry
Direct: 843.760.4522
vperry@crda.org

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