State News

Deere-Hitachi NC excavator plant to add 340 jobs

Posted October 5, 2012 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2012 11:03 a.m. EDT

— A company that makes excavating equipment plans to expand its Forsyth County plant, adding 340 jobs by the end of 2016, officials said Friday.

Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corp. will invest more than $97 million in the Kernersville operation to manufacture additional excavators for the mining and construction industries, as well as keep up with demand for its 47-metric ton machine.

“This investment will have a significant positive impact on the state of North Carolina, providing additional employment opportunities for Deere-Hitachi as well as many of our North Carolina-based suppliers,” Al Seeba, chairman and chief executive of Deere-Hitachi, said in a statement.

The company already employs about 750 people at the plant, which has been operating since 1988. The average annual salary for the new jobs will be $42,102, plus benefits, which is slightly lower than Forsyth County's overall average wage of $42,588.

The plant is a partnership between Japan's Hitachi Construction Machinery and U.S.-based Deere & Co. Gov. Beverly Perdue recently met with Hitachi executives during a trade mission to Japan to discuss opportunities for the company to grow in North Carolina, officials said.

Deere-Hitachi had shopped for tax breaks and other incentives from government officials as it weighs expanding in North Carolina or moving the work to Japan. The state provided grants of up to $510,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides money only after the company meets job and investment targets.

The state Economic Investment Committee also voted Friday to award Deere-Hitachi a Job Development Investment Grant of up to $3.5 million. Under the grant, the company will receive a rebate of 65 percent of the state withholding taxes of its new employees if it meets annual performance targets for nine years.

Forsyth County commissioners last week approved more than $1 million in incentives that would match state-level sweeteners.