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Cree adding more than 500 jobs over three years

Posted October 8, 2009

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— Manufacturer Cree announced Thursday that it will add more than 500 "green" jobs at its Durham headquarters over the course of three years. As many as 275 of those positions will be created by the end of the calendar year; half of them are already filled, CEO Chuck Swoboda said.

The company will add another 300 jobs through 2012, bringing the estimated total to 575. Cree employs some 3,500 people, including 1,500 in Durham.

Cree (Nasdaq: CREE), the maker of light emitting diodes and semiconductors, announced the creation of positions in the areas of clean technology and energy.

Cree closed at $36.97 Thursday. Company shares have soared recently to a 52-week high of $38.97 on Aug. 28 from a low of $12.57.

N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue was on hand for the announcement.

State Republican leaders used the announcement as a chance to criticize North Carolina’s tax structure and ability to continue to lure new jobs to the Tar Heel state.

State Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, issued this statement:

“I am concerned that the next inventor of the latest energy-saving technology is today deciding to locate their business elsewhere because of North Carolina's unfriendly tax and regulatory structure that makes it difficult for business to prosper. If we want to build a 21st-century economy, then we need a modern tax structure that relieves the burdens on North Carolina's families and small businesses and leaves room for business to grow."

Cree has previously disclosed plans to expand its operations to meet growing global demand for LEDs. The LEDs are more energy efficient and last longer than other lighting sources.

Planning for expansion, Cree last month raised more than $400 million through a stock offering.

“Cree intends to use the proceeds from the offering for anticipated capital expenditures of approximately $150 million in fiscal year 2010 and additional future capital expenditure needs with the remainder being used for general corporate purposes, including working capital and potential strategic investments,” the company said.

After a strong earnings report in May, Swoboda said he was optimistic about earnings for the quarter ending Sept. 30 and for orders in 2010.

"We are pleased with the strong booking trends for Q4," Swoboda said in a statement. "We also remain optimistic about the growth potential for LED lighting in fiscal 2010, although there is some near term execution risk as we ramp up production to meet these higher targets."

29 Comments

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  • roncorey1 Oct 9, 2009

    This is all hype. Half of these jobs will NEVER materialize! The pay at Cree is not all that great either. And most of the positions are contract-to-hire so BEWARE!

  • OpinionOnEverything Oct 9, 2009

    This will only end in complete disaster! Those unemployed people should just stay home and not even bother trying to get these 600 jobs. After they've spent all the money they would have earned living beyond their means, they'll get laid off in five years, and be a burden to NC taxpayers! How dare Gov Perdue drive ALL THE WAY TO RTP, wasting fuel and time to praise a local company for creating these phantom jobs! It's socialism, I tell you!!

    If there's no bread, let them have some cake...

  • nerdlywehunt Oct 9, 2009

    Hiring people for 500 jobs is real good news, however promising jobs in three years is fluff just to get tax concessions. Remember Dell and others.......they get the money and move on.........

  • dpknc84 Oct 8, 2009

    What the heck is wrong with some of you people?! I swear every time I attempt to read comments on here it's full of the most negative bs I've ever seen. You're never happy and it's like you make it a goal to find fault in anything to steer arguments toward your own agendas.

    Jobs are jobs and in the end it's good for the economy. Sheesh.

  • wildervb Oct 8, 2009

    Wow, can't believe the number of negative remarks, why do people root for America's failure.

    LED lights are the next generation of lighting. They're not quite there yet for home use but they're getting closer. In the next 5 years or so they'll be replacing both incandecent and CFL bulbs.

    They're more efficient and will last for many years. They'll save consumers money and the manufacturing of them will produce jobs.

  • james27613 Oct 8, 2009

    CFL bulbs contain 1 to 4mg Mercury, over a five year span 6.4mg of mercury would be dumped into the atmosphere from coal fired electric plants compared to 2.4mg from the CFL.

    Ten year span the coal fired utility will dump 10mg Mercury into the atmosphere.

    The Mercury is a catalyst, it can be recovered during recycling.

  • Luv2Camp Oct 8, 2009

    There is alot of negativity in these comments. I am just happy they are hiring my neighbors. I sure hope they are employed for a VERY long time at Cree.

    Good job Cree!!

  • Professor Oct 8, 2009

    It will not last. Trust me on this one. :)

  • Professor Oct 8, 2009

    IT WILL NOT LAST LONG. ABOUT 5 1/2 YEARS.

  • NCPACKER Oct 8, 2009

    I hear that Cree is not a very good company to work for.

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