New Cree production line to make LEDs more affordable

Posted September 20, 2010

— Cree Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) announced Monday that it would build a new production line inside its Durham plant, creating 244 jobs by 2013.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan and congressmen David Price and Brad Miller were at the company's headquarters Monday afternoon for the economic development announcement.

The new production line will produce semiconductor wafers used to make light-emitting diodes that are more than twice the size of those Cree now makes, company officials said. That will make LEDs, which are far more energy-efficient than incandescent light bulbs, more cost-effective, they said.

Perdue said in a statement that the company would invest $135 million in the Durham plant.

"Cree is proof that investing in innovation works," Cree Chairman and Chief Executive Chuck Swoboda said. "We are proudly building the world's brightest and most efficient LEDs right here in Durham."

Last week, Durham County commissioners approved $2 million in tax incentives for Cree. The company said it also was considering locations in China and Malaysia for a $392 million LED plant.

Cree LEDs and lighting Cree expansion lights up Triangle economy

The state Economic Investment Committee also voted Monday to award the company a Job Development Investment Grant, which allows it to receive a refund of up to 60 percent of the state withholding taxes paid on the new jobs. If Cree meets the JDIG's annual performance targets, it could receive more than $2.2 million over 10 years, state officials said.

"These incentives were enough to kind of balance those scales and make it, frankly, at the end of the day, the obvious choice to expand here in Durham," Swoboda said.

The average annual salary for the new jobs will be $42,726, plus benefits. The average salary in Durham County is $57,772.

"These are important jobs, and one reason they are so important is this is a broad range of jobs," Durham County Manager Mike Ruffin said, noting some will go to engineers and others to production line workers.

An announcement from Hagan's office noted that Cree receives $39 million in federal economic stimulus funds as an "advanced energy manufacturing tax credit." The money supported another expansion at Cree.

Cree was founded in 1987 in Durham by former North Carolina State University students and now employs more than 1,700 in the Triangle.


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  • jennilla1 Sep 24, 2010

    I dont know what all the crybaby stuff is on here...I'm white and female and just got a job at cree. Seems like a great place so far...maybe it has to do with a positive attitude.

  • aamburgey Sep 21, 2010


    I guess that is why I couldn't get in there.
    I tried going through their "Temp" agency 4 or 5 times but after the first time that lady (I forgot her name) would not respond to my voicemail messages anymore.
    I guess she found out on my aplication that I was white. LOL

  • leake001 Sep 21, 2010

    THIS COMPANY AND CEO'S ARE NOT THE WORTH THE TIME-FOR NOTHING WILL CHANGE,they are too busy filling their pockets and telling lies and have the wrong people in positions there in the RDU area.don't know about the other companys but this one in particular is not the answer, their demina is wrong.

  • leake001 Sep 21, 2010

    Cree is a racist company they hire all foreigners and pay less wages for temps,they full their pockets off of other workers,the day shift benefits from the 2nd shift who do all the work but the day shift the credit,I know for a fact this company is not what everyone is saying they are-this is bogus,Cree CEO donot know what is going on in their own company maybe they should go undercover like the TV program then they will learn a lot more of how their supervisors and etc,treat their employees in the RDU area.and they hire mostly people from India and their families just check it out this is true,they have only a few blacks,whites which we can count on 1 hand,they are not diverse,this is not a good company to work for,they donot treat their temp employees fair at all,who does all the work,1st shift gets a nice dinner when they meet their quota because the shift after them has done their work,but only get pizza's what a crock-these CEO's need to get it together an find out just what is go

  • rafink1 Sep 21, 2010

    Are you aware that the manufacture of LED's uses arsenic in the generators (large equipment that produces them). Check with Wikipedia if you don't believe me. A leak in the generators could result in the deaths of many. California has banned the manufacture but pacific rim countries don't care. This is "green"?

  • aamburgey Sep 21, 2010

    "As long as they can keep the workers wages low they will stay"

    That should be no problem since the mexican invasion started.
    As a matter of fact thats why I'm still unemployed for 2 years now. I'm considered overqualified every where I go now just for a warehouse job which I did for over 6 years in my previous company. So go figure.

  • pappybigtuna1 Sep 21, 2010

    CREE was a sweat shop as in textile mentality. Pay rate range would be 27K and 57K, a more realistic range for line workers will be 20K. Management would be 60K. As long as they can keep the workers wages low they will stay. Everyone enters as a "temp" and 90 days later you "may get hired".
    Big Smoke Screen - how many thousands are out of work in NC, this is for 240 jobs, thanks perdue

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Sep 21, 2010

    how many have gotten a job with this company, or others like Cree, adding 200 jobs since Bev took office?

    raise your hands.

  • Bartmeister Sep 21, 2010, read reviews about Cree. Right now, they are the most expensive LED component maker in the market. I'll give them 5 years, and they will be a total Off Shore Import company from the Far East.

  • chfdcpt Sep 21, 2010

    "A 2010 World Bank study pegged the U.S. effective tax rate at 27.9 percent, far higher than the average of 16.8 percent among developed countries."

    If I owned a corporation and was looking at that type of tax, I would move my operation somewhere else.

    And every time that another tax gets added to imports, it just makes it more expensive for us to buy.