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Pirelli Selects Atlanta to Develop New Optical and Broadband Technologies for U.S. Telecommunications Market

Thursday, September 22, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Company Establishes New North American Headquarters in Georgia

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today a five-year strategic research and development partnership between Pirelli and the Georgia Institute of Technology.  The partnership will develop new optical components and systems and broadband access technologies for future high-speed telecommunications networks.

Pirelli and scientists from the Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at Georgia Tech will study a new generation of integrated optical systems based on nanotechnologies and solutions for advanced home networking.  Atlanta will become the North American operational branch of Pirelli Labs, the company's advanced research center based in Milan , Italy , and founded in 2001 with an investment of $166 million.  Pirelli Labs specializes in broadband access and second generation photonics. 

Pirelli will also consolidate all of its North American corporate staff activities in the new Atlanta center, including the headquarters of Pirelli Broadband Solutions, a new company that engineers and markets the innovations conceived in Pirelli Labs.  This alliance positions Georgia to become a world-class center of research excellence in photonics and broadband technologies.

“Pirelli has a great history here in Georgia , with tire facilities in Rome ,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “I am very proud that this great company has chosen Georgia as its new North American headquarters and also selected Georgia as the home of its new company – Pirelli Broadband Solutions.”

Pirelli's selection of Georgia as its new home for the broadband business was driven by the cooperation of several organizations working together to sell Atlanta as a potential location for this partnership, including the Georgia Research Alliance and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  Pirelli's selection of Atlanta was driven not only by this cooperation, but also by the close proximity to Georgia Tech's Electronic Design Center (GEDC), recognized worldwide as the leading academic research laboratory in high-speed communications electronics.

Under the agreement, visiting scientists from both organizations will work in Georgia Tech laboratories and in the clean rooms of Pirelli Labs near Milan , with advanced facilities devoted to research and development of optical components for telecommunications based on nanotechnologies and occupy about 54,000 square feet in the Pirelli Labs building.

Pirelli's location in Atlanta will initially include laboratory space at the GEDC in the Technology Square Research Building at Georgia Tech, as well as additional headquarters office space next door in the Centergy One building.  Pirelli's initial team will consist of executive, engineering, scientific, marketing and sales professionals.

“We are excited at the reception we have received in Georgia and the cooperation at all levels from the Governor, his staff and the university system,” said Kevin Riddett, president and chief executive officer of Pirelli North America, Inc.  “By combining the respective know-how, Pirelli Labs and Georgia Tech will be able to develop new cutting-edge broadband access and optical technologies for the North American market.  We view our partnership with GEDC as a major strategic asset in our future broadband activities,” added Giorgio Grasso, CEO of Pirelli Labs Optical Innovation.

Pirelli, a pioneer in photonics worldwide, is among the world's leaders and innovators in a number of fields, including its key markets of tires and telecommunications systems.

“Today's announcement indicates that we are making great progress in establishing Georgia as a hot spot in the world of electronic design,” said Craig Lesser, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.  “We set out to make Georgia a world leader in the design of high-speed communications systems, devices and chips, and Pirelli's location here takes us one step closer to achieving that vision.”

“We are excited that an innovative company like Pirelli has chosen to locate at Tech Square in partnership with GEDC,” said Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough.  “This outcome reflects the power of linking Georgia Tech's research and educational assets with those of the state of Georgia to help build the state technology sector in a time when competition for such jobs comes not only from other states, but other nations as well.”