EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 18, 2008

Philips Electronics to move North American HQ to Andover

By Crystal Bozek

ANDOVER — Town officials say biotech behemoth Philips Healthcare, which has a plant and headquarters in Andover, will announce that parent company Philips Electronics is moving its North American headquarters here.

Selectman Brian Major — a Philips Healthcare employee — broke the news at a meeting this week, and the town has been buzzing ever since, speculating whether the move will translate into more jobs for the region.

Philips Healthcare employs 2,200 people at its Minuteman Road plant near Interstate 93, where they manufacture medical devices such as defibrillators and patient monitoring systems.

"This is perhaps the most monumental decision made in manufacturing for the Merrimack Valley, maybe all of Massachusetts," said Joseph Bevilacqua, president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. "It sends a message to the world that manufacturing is best done here.

"It's really the biggest compliment," he said.

Gov. Deval Patrick and local state legislators are expected to be in town for the Tuesday morning announcement.

Philips spokesman Ian Race would only confirm that there would be a press conference Tuesday where Patrick and Scott Weisenhoff, CEO for Philips Electronics North America, will "discuss the economic benefits the state will see as a result of Philips' presence in Massachusetts."

Race would offer no further details.

Philips Electronics North America is currently headquartered in New York City. It is under the umbrella of Amsterdam-based Royal Philips Electronics. Last year, Royal Philips brought in $36.8 billion in worldwide revenues.

"It's great news for Andover," Town Manager Reginald "Buzz" Stapczynski said. "We're one of the premium life science clusters in the state. It shows the confidence Philips has in the Massachusetts economy to locate here."

Bevilacqua said he not only sees Philips expanding here, but other companies jumping on board as well, which would bring more jobs, taxes and infrastructure improvements to the Interstate 93 corridor.

Philips Healthcare, known until recently as Philips Medical Systems, paid out close to $1.1 million in taxes to Andover last year alone. Philips' buildings are located off River Road.

The company has been in Andover since 2000, when it took over Agilent Technologies Inc.

The chamber of commerce had known about the move for a while, but had to keep it secret until an announcement was made.

"They are sending a message to literally every other manufacturer who may have thought about coming here," Bevilacqua said. "We're all very excited."

Philips Healthcare

r Manufactures medical devices

r Employs 2,200 people at its Andover plant

r Paid Andover close to $1.1 million in taxes last year