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The Timken Company Planning Another Upgrade

The Timken Company, which just seven months ago thrust $16 million into the local economy, is planning another upgrade. If incentives are approved, Timken will invest $3.5 million in its Lincolnton bearing plant, said Laura Foor, existing business coordinator for the Lincoln Economic Development Association. The upgrade, which will provide a new manufacturing line to produce packaged bearings, will add 20 new jobs by the end of 2004. The jobs will pay $15 to $18 an hour. Timken officials will seek county economic incentive grants to help with the upgrade, Foor said. A public hearing will be held at the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting on March 3. Timken will request $49,367.50 in incentives, to be paid out over five years. Those incentives equal out to a 65 percent reduction in what Timken would pay in taxes. Last June, county commissioners approved more than $250,000 in incentives to entice Timken to make the $16.3 million investment. During a press conference in July, plant General Manager Seth Haney said that the incentives did influence the company’s decision to choose Lincolnton. The Lincolnton Bearing Plant competed with Timken companies around the world for those projects, which doubled the plant’s packaged-bearing capacity and added a new forming process to support rail and industrial bearing markets. The Lincolnton plant is currently in the process of putting in those lines, said Wayne Lowe, manager of human resources. The investment created 44 jobs, all of which were filled from within the company. Some of the new 20 jobs could be filled from outside, Lowe said. LEDA, which considers retaining existing industry one of its top priorities, is pleased with the news. “It’s always nice to see local industries expand,” Foor said. In tough economic times, Foor said, when many companies are closing down or laying off employees, it’s good to see Timken doing the exact opposite. “In the up times and the down times, we’re still expanding,” said LEDA Executive Director Barry Matherly, during the monthly board of director’s meeting Thursday.