Sweden-based Husqvarna, which currently employs more than 15,000 workers in 42 countries, including 160 in Charlotte, N.C., announced Jan. 7 that it will double its Charlotte workforce with the opening of a new North American headquarters. The company plans to add 160 workers over the next three years and invest $2.75 million in the project.
“This decision by a top international company such as Husqvarna shows what trade magazines have long said – that Charlotte is among the nation’s best places to live and do business,” said North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue. “I will continue working aggressively to create opportunities across the state that put our people to work.”
Husqvarna plans to consolidate its Consumer Outdoor Products subsidiary in Augusta, Ga., with its Professional Products headquarters in Charlotte to form one North American headquarters in Charlotte.
Mike Jones, president of Husqvarna North America/Latin America Sales and Service Division, said the decision to move the headquarters from Augusta, Ga., was not an easy one. “However, we believe consolidation will produce operational efficiency and synergy across multiple areas, driving increased speed to market for many of our products.”
Jones continued, “We agree with the Governor that Charlotte is one of the top areas of the country to live and work. The area has a strong, educated workforce and excellent access to transportation. We are appreciative of the efforts of the representatives from the North Carolina Office of the Governor, Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte and Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. The incentives offered are making the economics of this possible.”
While salaries will vary by job type, the overall average annual wage for the 160 new jobs will be $79,453, not including benefits, which is significantly higher than the Mecklenburg County average of $48,776.
To facilitate this project, the state Economic Investment Committee voted Jan. 7 to award a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) to Husqvarna. According to a statement issued by the governor’s office, JDIGs are performance-based incentive grants awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industries whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant. Companies receive no up-front funds and must meet job, wage and investment targets to receive grant payments.
Under the terms of the JDIG, Husqvarna is eligible to receive a grant equal to 55 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the nine years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If Husqvarna meets the targets called for under the agreement and sustains them for nine years, the JDIG could yield as much as $2.5 million in maximum benefits for the company.