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Hitachi plans to add 65 jobs in China Grove

CHINA GROVE — Hitachi Metals North Carolina will add 65 full-time jobs and invest about $60 million at a ferrite magnet manufacturing plant in China Grove over the next four years, Gov. Bev Perdue’s office announced today.
Salaries will vary by job function, but the average annual wage for the new jobs will be $43,108 not including benefits. The county’s average annual wage is $36,036.
Hitachi will receive tax incentives from Rowan County and a $153,700 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.
Robert Van Geons, director of RowanWorks Economic Development, said Hitachi is adding a new production unit that will bring a unique sector of manufacturing to the county.
“I think it’s very positive that they’re creating 65 jobs in Rowan County, especially right around the holidays,” Van Geons said. “We’re looking forward to working with the company, and we appreciate the decision to invest in Rowan County and China Grove.”
The project would create fewer jobs and a lower investment than the company predicted this summer in its report to Rowan County. Perdue’s press release did not give a reason for this reduction.
The expansion will double employment at the company’s Hitachi Metals Drive site off N.C. 152, according to figures provided by the governor’s office.
The company will produce neodymium magnets engineered primarily for use in hybrid and electric vehicles. The new plant will support the company’s efforts to expand its magnet supply capacity to meet an increase in global demand.
“Hitachi Metals is pleased to be locating a new rare earth magnet facility in China Grove,” Mikio Yasuoka, president of Hitachi Metals Neomax Company, said in a press release.
He said Perdue’s October visit to Japan and the One North Carolina fund grant “were helpful in making the decision to locate in North Carolina. We look forward to our continued good working relationship with the state of North Carolina, Rowan County and the town of China Grove.”
Perdue met with company leaders from Hitachi Metals during her recent economic development mission to Asia. While there, Perdue and Commerce Department officials encouraged business prospects to invest in North Carolina and to buy North Carolina products and services, the press release said. The goal of the mission was to grow high-potential sectors in North Carolina including energy, advanced manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and information technology.
“My top priority is creating jobs, and when we met with Hitachi officials in Asia a few weeks ago, we emphasized the many benefits of expanding in North Carolina,” Perdue said in the press release. “Our state’s top-ranked business climate, skilled workforce and job training programs make a great fit for global manufacturers like Hitachi.”
According to Rowan County’s incentive agreement, each year for five years starting in 2013, Hitachi will get 75 percent of the tax revenue generated by the project.
But the county offered the grant based on Hitachi’s original proposal of 148 jobs and a $71.6 million investment, Van Geons said.
“Our incentives are performance-based,” he said. “If they create more than 65 jobs, they come closer to getting more of the incentives. If they don’t, the grant will be reduced accordingly.”
In July, Van Geons had said the original project would have resulted in $11.8 million a year in direct and indirect salaries, as well as nearly $2.7 million in new revenue for the county over 10 years.
But those estimates will drop based on 65 jobs and a $60 million investment.
Van Geons said he can’t speak for the company, but the lower numbers are likely what Hitachi knows it can commit to in the short term.
He said the project is planned to grow in phases, so the announcement might not include future expansion.

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