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Million Could Be Invested

The weather may be getting colder, but the county’s industrial climate is again heating up. County commissioners Monday night agreed to offer two existing industries incentive grants in exchange for investments totaling more than $45 million. The Timken Company, located in Iron Station, and Cataler North America, found in the Lincoln County Industrial Park, are both considering expanding their operations. Company officials still have to make a final decision on each project. Laura Foor, existing business coordinator for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, emphasized the importance of helping existing industries expand. “Each year more new jobs are created through the expansion of existing industry than through new companies,” Foor said. “Because of this, LEDA has made retention and expansion of Lincoln’s existing industry its top priority. The possible expansions at Timken and Cataler are perfect examples of why it is so important to work with existing industries.” Cataler is looking at increasing its production capability with an expansion mainly consisting of machinery and equipment, but including a substantial building expansion as well. The $25.45 million investment would create 30 new jobs paying an average of $600 per week. Cataler, which opened its Lincoln County facility in 2002, manufactures catalysts, which are the main component in automotive catalytic converters. Timken’s Lincolnton Bearing Plant is competing with other Timken plants for a $20 million investment in machinery and equipment. The project will create 40 new jobs paying an average $600 per week. If awarded the project, Timken would be adding another manufacturing line, Foor said. The line would produce packaged wheel bearings for the light truck and SUV markets. County commissioners voted unanimously to offer Cataler incentive grants in the amount of $104,659 per year for a five year period if the company agrees to the investment. Timken will receive $64,050 per year for five years if the project is awarded to the local plant.