State News

Forsyth County lands Caterpillar plant, 510 jobs

Posted July 30, 2010 8:02 a.m. EDT
Updated July 30, 2010 3:40 p.m. EDT

— Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. will open a $426 million plant in Winston-Salem, creating 510 jobs, officials said Friday.

Earlier this month, North Carolina officials approved tax breaks and other incentives worth up to $75 million to lure the 850,000-square-foot facility to the state.

Sites in Spartanburg, S.C., and Montgomery, Ala., also were under consideration for the plant.

The plant will produce axle assemblies for large mining machines, Caterpillar officials said, and it is part of the company's long-term strategy to increase mining truck capacity.

The average annual salary for the new jobs will be $40,482 a year, plus benefits, which is slightly higher than Forsyth County's average of $40,352.

Construction on the facility is expected to start in late 2010, and the plant will be operational by early 2012, officials said. Within five years, it is expected to employ about 390 full-time employees and 120 contract workers.

Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar qualified for a $600,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides incentives to attract business projects to the state. No money is paid up front, and companies must meet job creation and investment targets to receive payments.

The state Economic Investment Committee also voted Friday to award a Job Development Investment Grant to Caterpillar. Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive up to 75 percent of the state withholding taxes for the new jobs in each of the 11 years in which the company meets annual performance targets.

If Caterpillar meets all of the targets called for under the agreement, it would get almost $4.7 million in tax rebates.

The plant will be located on 100 acres next to the site where Dell Inc. operates a computer assembly plant, which is expected to close next year.

Caterpillar plants in Clayton and Sanford have experienced several rounds of layoffs since late 2008, as the company adjusted to the global economic slowdown.