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Continental to expand plant, add 40 jobs

FLETCHER — Continental Automotive Systems Inc. announced today a $35 million 88,000-square-foot plant expansion that will add 40 new jobs at its Fletcher plant. The average wage associated with the new jobs will exceed $40,000 a year, compared to the Henderson County average wage of $32,500 a year, the company said.


"Continental's growth in our community is a reflection of the partnership's continued focus on our existing industry," said Nathan Kennedy, chair of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. "The products that are made in Henderson County, and the people that make them, are cause for celebration."

The company's announcement came after the Fletcher Town Council authorized an agreement last week that would grant Continental up to $488,000 in incentives through property tax reductions.

The Town Council delayed action on the agreement on July 8 after council members questioned the company's documentation of jobs in an earlier agreement with Continental Teves, a part of Continental Automotive Systems.

"We had an issue with the old contract," Councilman Eddie Henderson said. "Somebody has to take some responsibility for this."
The council members said they wanted to make sure the contract left no "wiggle room" for the company in terms of the capital investment and job creation. The town will grant property tax refunds of up to $488,475 over seven years if the company meet the maximum investment and job creation. It must invest at least $25 million to get any incentive payment.
"I feel more comfortable about this contract than I did the other one," Councilman Bob Davy. "I think this one spells things out where the other one there were gray areas everywhere."
Town council agreed that this contract would be beneficial to the local industry.
Mayor Bill Moore praised the expansion, one of several that have broadened the industrial job base in Fletcher.
"The Town of Fletcher is very privileged that, with all the local industry we have in Henderson County, the majority of that is in the Town of Fletcher," he said. "Make no mistakes about it, this mayor and this town council, we support the local industry."

Before committing to expand in Henderson County, Continental completed an extensive evaluation process to consider other location options in North America.

"Henderson County and the Town of Fletcher communicated their interest in encouraging our growth, as well as the retention of our existing workforce. We appreciate that the business climate here affords us the opportunity to focus on our goals as a company," said Jeff Scott, Continental plant manager.

Over the next five years, as the expansion takes place, Continental will begin production of a new electronic parking brake system that has been adopted across multiple vehicle platforms. The system can be combined with the caliper or serve as a stand-alone unit and is operated with the touch of a button.

Chairman of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners Charlie Messer said, "Continental has continually invested in our community, through employment of our friends and neighbors. Those jobs mean more dollars circulating in our local economy, funding many of the amenities that we define as quality of life, and contributing to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the State of North Carolina."

Fletcher mayor Moore added, "Continental is a partner with our community and local government. We greatly appreciate the positive impact we have seen from their local leadership and workforce, and we are excited that this successful relationship continues."