Nov. 11--NORMAL -- A Canadian agriculture equipment company is eyeing a manufacturing plant between Hudson and Normal that could bring up to 500 jobs to the area.
Brandt Industries' Illinois operation is expected to make attachments for John Deere construction equipment and agricultural equipment, including augers, belt conveyors and grain carts. The company is the largest John Deere dealer network for construction in the world.
Brandt Industries Ltd. would acquire a 200,000-square-foot facility formerly used by Kongskilde Industries north of Normal, on North 1425 East Road, which is in a county enterprise zone that allows for tax abatements.
Several government bodies, including the McLean County Unit 5 School District, Heartland Community College, Normal Township and McLean County, must sign off on the proposal. The Unit 5 school board has scheduled a meeting for Monday.
The tax abatement would cover tax years 2018 to 2027.
"This is similar to the Rivian (Automotive) deal," Barry Hitchens, Unit 5 school board vice president, said on Saturday. "The abatement is setting targets for the number of employees they would need to reach each year. If they meet those goals, they would get an abatement of their property taxes."
Hitchens said Brandt is hoping to hire between 300 and 500 employees in seven years.
Current annual property tax revenue from the site and adjacent land for Unit 5 is $79,800, said Hitchens.
"Yes, we're getting nearly $80,000 in taxes, but if no one purchases this property, it will start to deteriorate and the property value would go down significantly," said Hitchens. "If they're bringing the potential for 500 new jobs to the community, that would have a definitely economic impact."
He said, according to the abatement proposal, Kongskilde is downsizing and moving elsewhere in the Twin Cities.
The Denmark-based company had sold its grass and soil divisions to CNH International in 2016, about a year after it unveiled a $10 million expansion at its Hudson plant. Kongskilde and neighbor Nussbaum Transportation both had asked for a sales tax incentive when they originally developed the sites in 2012.
Credited with building one of the first grain augers available in Canada, Canada-based Brandt employs more than 1,800 people in Canada and the United States, with markets in more than 20 countries and six continents. It recently surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue, according to its website.
"Despite our 80 years of perpetual growth and success, in many ways it feels like we're just getting started. Look for many exciting things to come from Brandt. The best is yet to come," President Shaun Semple says on the company website.
Brandt, based in Regina, is the largest privately owned company in Saskatchewan and among Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies program.
Brandt companies include Brandt Agricultural Products Ltd., Brandt Developments Ltd., Brandt Engineered Products Ltd., Brandt Equipment Solutions Ltd., Brandt Finance Ltd., Brandt Positioning Technology and Brandt Road Rail Corporation. Brandt Tractor Ltd. is the largest privately held John Deere construction and forestry dealership in the world, the website said.
Brandt Industries is not related to Brandt Consolidated, a worldwide agricultural company based in Springfield.
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