Hollister Incorporated, a global medical device manufacturer, held a groundbreaking ceremony signifying the start of construction on a manufacturing plant in the Kaunas FEZ (Free Economic Zone) region of Lithuania.
The multi-stage project represents a company investment of over $58 million (€50 million) and is expected to create more than 300 jobs over the next several years. Upon opening in mid-2019, the new plant will produce ostomy-care products with plans to expand production to include continence-care products.
The groundbreaking ceremony and reception were attended by: Hollister Incorporated President and CEO George Maliekel; Senior VP of Research & Development and Global Operations James Humphries; VP Human Resources Suzanne Erickson; VP and CFO Rob Keeley; VP of Global Operations Brendan Sugrue; and Senior Director Global Manufacturing William Ciehanski.
“Our decision to invest in this major expansion project in Lithuania was made after very thoughtful consideration,” said Hollister Incorporated President and Chief Executive Officer George Maliekel. “This is a key strategic initiative for the continued growth of our company and for our customers around the world who depend on medical products of the highest quality. I want to personally thank our partners here in Lithuania who have helped us to plan and prepare for this very special day.”
Representing the Kaunas FEZ at the groundbreaking ceremony were Kaunas City Mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis, and Director General of Invest Lithuania Mantas Katinas, and other partners. According to Mr. Katinas, “Hollister Incorporated selected this country, region and city not only for the ideal geographical considerations and investment environment, but also for the strong skills and values of our local workforce.“
“Very early in the site selection process, our team realized that the Kaunas region of Lithuania offered an ideal European location, a welcoming business environment, strong community support, and an ideal combination of infrastructure and talent to meet our manufacturing needs,” Mr. Maliekel stated.
“Our new manufacturing plant here in Kaunas will not only help us to meet the growing needs of our customers – particularly our customers in Europe – but will also help us to meet the global healthcare challenges of the 21st Century.”
The skills and talent of the local population were critical components in making the decision to build the new facility in Lithuania. The cultural ‘fit’ between the company’s culture and the people throughout the region were also extremely important. Educational opportunities were a significant factor as well. That is why Hollister Incorporated is committed to working closely with local educational institutions, like the Kaunas University of Technology and the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, as well as institutions across the country to help enhance programs in research, engineering and technology to develop exceptional graduates and further strengthen the local talent market.
The company has already hired a few engineers from Lithuania who will begin working at its Ballina, Ireland plant. They will return to the Kaunas plant after the first phase of construction is completed in 2019.