Tractor maker moving to Rocky Mount

Posted April 22, 2009 3:49 p.m. EDT

— A subsidiary of a Korean heavy-equipment manufacturer will establish its U.S. headquarters and a distribution and manufacturing facility in Nash County, officials said Wednesday.

LS Tractor USA LLC, a distributor of high-end compact tractors and implements, plans to invest nearly $14 million and create 134 jobs during the next five years that will pay an average annual wage of $41,500, plus benefits, officials said.

The company is owned by South Korea-based LS Mtron Ltd. The Rocky Mount facility initially will import LS-brand tractors from South Korea and distribute them nationwide. The company then plans to expand in Nash County and begin manufacturing and distributing tractor implements.

“After looking at other states, we were very impressed with the educated and skilled work force that North Carolina offers, particularly in Nash County,” Jae-Yong Sim, interim chief executive of LS Tractor USA, said in a statement. “Our decision to locate in North Carolina also was based on the dynamic business climate that this state offers.”

The state’s Economic Investment Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to award a Job Development Investment Grant to LS Tractor for the project.

For each of nine years in which the company meets the required performance targets, the state will provide a grant equal to 60 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of jobs. If the company creates the jobs called for under the agreement and sustains them for the duration of the grant, the agreement could yield as much as $995,000 in benefits for LS Tractor and up to $175,000 to the Industrial Development Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties.

Job Development Investment Grants are awarded to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.