MSA Celebrates 50 Years in Mexico with Opening of New Plant

PITTSBURGH , Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- John T. Ryan III, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MSA (NYSE: MSA), Pittsburgh , Pa., today led a ribbon cutting ceremony in Queretaro, Mexico celebrating the opening there of MSA's new 77,000 square-foot manufacturing facility as well as the company's 50th anniversary of conducting business in that country. The state-of-the-art manufacturing center, located 135 miles northwest of Mexico City , will initially employ about 85 MSA associates with employment expected to increase to about 170 throughout 2008. The plant will serve as a key manufacturing site for several MSA products, including head protection products, fall protection equipment and instrumentation.

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The Queretaro facility is a key element of Project Magellan, a multi-year endeavor the company announced in January to improve the efficiency of its North American manufacturing operations. The three- to five-year project was implemented to strengthen operating margins, enhance MSA's competitiveness in key product segments, and improve customer relationships by providing the best value in sophisticated safety products. When completed, Project Magellan is expected to reduce annual operating expenses by as much as $10 million.

The new facility in Mexico consolidates two previous MSA operations located in Torreon and Mexico City . While the new plant is an important element of Project Magellan, Mr. Ryan noted that the Queretaro facility will better enable the company to serve customers in one of MSA's fastest growing markets.

"Mexico's economy is quite strong, with a gross domestic product that exceeds $1 trillion. Our operations there have experienced dramatic growth over the past five years, with sales growing 30 percent in 2006 alone," Mr. Ryan said. "The new site we are opening today will enable MSA to more effectively support and serve our customer and distributor base in Mexico , while building greater operational efficiencies that set the stage for us to meet our long-range goals."

Products manufactured at the new facility will be used largely by workers in the construction, off-shore gas and petrochemical industries. Among these products is the company's Workman Line of energy-absorbing harnesses and lanyards that provide fall protection for workers at heights. Mr. Ryan noted that the Workman Line produced in Mexico has gone well beyond the company's initial expectations, with sales exceeding MSA's own 2006 forecast by 300 percent through just the third quarter.

MSA, which was founded in 1914 in Pittsburgh , first established a presence in Mexico in 1957. Over the years, the company has maintained operations in Mexico City and Torreon. While manufacturing operations in Queretaro have begun, some support personnel, including those in sales, marketing and administrative functions, remain in Mexico City . The company expects the relocation of all staff to Queretaro to be completed by the end of 2008.

About MSA

Established in 1914, MSA is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of sophisticated safety products that protect people's health and safety. Sophisticated safety products typically integrate any combination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials to protect users against hazardous or life-threatening situations. The company's comprehensive line of products is used by workers around the world in the fire service, homeland security, construction and other industries, as well as the military. Principal products include self-contained breathing apparatus, gas masks, gas detection instruments, head protection, respirators and thermal imaging cameras. The company also provides a broad range of consumer and contractor safety products through retail channels. These products are marketed and sold under the MSA Safety Works brand. MSA has annual sales of approximately $950 million, manufacturing operations throughout the United States and Europe , and more than 40 international locations. Additional information is available on the company's Web site at