Unilever (IW 1000/66) will spent $96.2 million to purchase new production machinery for the largest tea processing facility in the United States. The plant, located in Suffolk, Virginia, will also see some upgrades.

"Lipton has thrived in Suffolk for nearly 60 years, enjoying a business climate, workforce and infrastructure second to none," said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. "The Suffolk plant's proximity to the Port of Virginia influenced the location decision for this investment, as the company imports loose tea through the port from various countries. We are proud that nearly all of Lipton teas are produced from the Commonwealth, and this equipment upgrade will allow the company to increase production and stay competitive."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Suffolk and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved a $1 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program, an incentive available to existing Virginia companies.

"Unilever is enormously proud of the heritage of Lipton, its employees in Suffolk and the wide range of quality teas we produce at this historic factory," said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America.

The Suffolk plant was one of Unilever's first factories to achieve zero-to-landfill in the US and was a pilot site to implement LED lighting, which significantly reduces electricity consumption.