Bearing manufacturer creates 231 jobs in Burke, Alexander

Gov. Bev Perdue announced Thursday that American Roller Bearing Industries Inc. (A.R.B.), a manufacturer of anti-friction bearings for industrial equipment, will expand its operations in Burke and Alexander counties.

A.R.B. expects to create 231 new jobs over the next five years and invest between $3 million and $5 million per year in land, buildings, machinery and equipment. The announcement was made possible in part by a state Job Development Investment Grant.

“My top priority is creating jobs, and our top-ranked business climate continues to attract new, high-tech manufacturers and help existing ones expand,” Gov. Perdue said. “Companies, such as A.R.B., continue to choose North Carolina because our past investments in education have created a highly-skilled workforce.”

A.R.B.’s first manufacturing plant was located in Pittsburgh, Pa. in the 1920s. All manufacturing operations for the company moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s and the corporate office relocated to Hickory in 2007. A.R.B. manufactures anti-friction bearings for industrial equipment used in electrical power generation, mining and rock crushing, primary metal making and rolling mills, oilfields, construction, railroads, gear drives, corrugated box and papermaking, and wind energy. The company currently employs more than 340 people in North Carolina.

“North Carolina has dedicated skilled workers who will make our expansion in North Carolina successful,” said Ben Succop, president of American Roller Bearing. “We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with the State of North Carolina and those we have in Burke and Alexander counties. This grant will enable us to strengthen our operations and to support the needs of our customers.”

The total payroll for the new jobs is estimated to be between $8 million and $8.9 million. The overall annual wages will exceed the Burke County annual average wage which is $30,784 and the annual average wage in Alexander County which is $26,728.

To help facilitate this expansion, the state Economic Investment Committee today voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to A.R.B. JDIGs are awarded only 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.

Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 65-percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 9 years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If A.R.B. meets the targets called for under the agreement and sustains them for 9 years, the JDIG could yield as much as $2.031 million in maximum benefits for the company.

Other partners who assisted with this announcement include: The N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Community Colleges, N.C. Department of Revenue, City of Morganton, Burke County, Burke Development, Inc. and N.C. Rural Center.