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$5.5 MILLION EXPANSION COMPLETED AT MILK-BONE PLANT <br> NEW EQUIPMENT WILL BE USED TO PRODUCE AN UNDISCLOSED PRODUCT AT THE BUFFALO FACILITY

Nabisco Inc. has completed a $5.5 million upgrade at its Milk-Bone plant in Buffalo, supported by a $350,000 grant from the state, the Empire State Development Corp. has announced.

The company, employer of 220 people at its 243 Urban St. factory, had considered sites in Michigan and Minnesota for the upgrade, the state development agency said.

The investment will help set up two new packaging lines, adding nine new jobs. It will also revamp existing operations and help implement new products. "The project is to upgrade equipment to make lines more flexible," Nabisco spokeswoman Ann Smith said. The company makes three sizes of Milk-Bone biscuits and related products in Buffalo.

The equipment will eventually accommodate an undisclosed new product, Smith said. The project was completed in November.

The state's capital grant will contribute to the purchase of machinery and equipment, ESDC said.

Milk-Bone, the largest nationally branded dog snack, has been produced in Buffalo since 1957. The 567,000-square-foot factory is in the city's economic development zone, which carries breaks on taxes and utilities.

"New York's economy is providing an opportunity for manufacturing companies to invest in improving their productivity and competitiveness," ESDC Chairman Charles A. Gargano said in announcing the grant.

The state recorded 1,025 expansions and start-ups last year, up from 75 in 1994, according to Gargano.

The agency also approved a $47,520 grant for Buffalo Pumps Inc. to aid a $365,600 expansion bringing 14 jobs. The project will train 13 existing and 14 new manufacturing workers to meet increased demand. The North Tonawanda company has 115 workers and manufactures specialized pumps for refrigeration and power generation industries and for the U.S. Navy.

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