DALTON — Crane Currency is planning to build a $100 million banknote printing facility and customer experience center on the island nation of Malta, both the company and the Maltese government announced on Wednesday.
The planned 140,000 square foot facility, expected to be completed by early 2018, will assist Crane in serving the firm's 50 international currency customers, who are currently supported by another company facility in Tumba, Sweden.
A global producer of currency products for over 200 years, Crane has supplied currency paper to the U.S. government since 1879, and has been its sole supplier since 1964.
The material needed for Crane's domestic currency operations is manufactured in the Berkshires, while its security technology operations are conducted at facilities in Georgia and New Hampshire.
Crane CEO Stephen P. DeFalco said the new overseas facility will not affect the company's operations in the Berkshires.
"Not directly," said DeFalco, in a telephone interview. "It makes Crane a more global, stronger player in the currency industry.
"The paper for this plant will come from our Tumba operations," DeFalco said. "We'll have some of our Berkshire talent working on it on a project basis, but there will be no direct transfer.
"Over the long haul the US government wants Crane to be a leader and stay abreast of the global marketplace," he said. "It's important that we can be the best partner that we can be."
Crane expects to initially hire approximately 200 employees for its plant in Malta, but that number is expected to rise to 300 over time, Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told the Times of Malta.
The state-of-the-art facility will offer the latest in printing equipment and technology, according to Crane.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea near the Italian island of Sicily, Malta is a member of the European Union and has a well-known history of banknote production which will give Crane access to a skilled workforce. Advanced manufacturing has been a mainstay of the Maltese economy since the nation first industrialized in the 1950s, according to a government website.
The country is also known for its business-friendly environment — it has a government agency charged with attracting economic investment — and is located within close proximity of many of Crane's international customers.
"What is being announced today is a significant landmark achievement for our nation," Muscat said in a statement. "To give one inkling of the sheer significance of this investment to our manufacturing sector, I need only say that the last time the county managed to attract a greenfield investor that started its manufacturing operations with a comparable number of employees was in 1981."
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.