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From Site Selection magazine, September 2023

Foreign Investors Expand Their Tar Heel Footprints

North Carolina
A hiker enjoys the fall scenery near Asheville, North Carolina, along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Photo: Getty Images


ust weeks after being recognized with Site Selection’s Prosperity Cup for having the most competitive state-level economic development team, North Carolina was named the Top State for Business in 2023 by cable business news channel CNBC. That’s three Prosperity Cups in a row for the Tar Heel State and the second year in a row to place first in CNBC’s ranking.

“After another record-breaking year for economic development wins, I am more than proud to see the great state of North Carolina recognized [by CNBC] as the best state in the nation for business yet again,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Last year’s performance includes nearly 29,000 new jobs and $19.3 billion in investments — the result of collaborative leadership and hard work.”

Much of that investment is from outside the U.S. Nearly 1,200 international employers have operations in the state that combined employ more than 293,000 workers, according to Global Business Alliance (GBA), which tracks foreign direct investment (FDI) into the U.S.

Companies based in the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom support the largest number of jobs in North Carolina, according to GBA. From 2015 to 2020, the state’s FDI employment grew 16%, whereas overall private-sector employment grew 4%.

So far in 2023, more than $528 million in capital investment has been announced by companies based outside the U.S. Following are examples of FDI projects coming to North Carolina in the months ahead.

In June, German engineering and technology company Bosch announced it will invest $130 million to expand its power tools accessory manufacturing site in Lincolnton. The expansion will add 400 jobs and support manufacturing of power tool accessories for products including saws, drills and routers in a new 325,000-sq.-ft. building for manufacturing, logistics and warehouse operations.

“We aim to provide local-for-local solutions to support our businesses, and the expansion for Power Tools in Lincolnton is further evidence of our commitment to develop local manufacturing here in the region,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America, in a release.

Bosch’s expansion will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by more than $1 billion.

Italian, British Investors

High-power electric vehicle charging station manufacturer alpitronic Americas LLC will create 300 new jobs in Mecklenburg County. The company will invest more than $18.3 million to locate its U.S. headquarters operation and service center in Charlotte.

Founded in Bolzano, Italy, in 2009, alpitronic is the developer and producer of the hypercharger, a high-power DC charging station, which recharges vehicles with up to 400kW.

In addition to its administrative operations, says the company, the alpitronic Americas headquarters will operate a technology, test and repair center to service its EV charging stations within its 70,000-sq.-ft. space.

“We’re excited to start our operations for the U.S. in Charlotte shortly,” said Philipp Senoner, CEO of alpitronic SRL. “Our decision to come to North Carolina, a state which is developing towards an e-mobility cluster, was consciously made based on the economic conditions. Within the next years we expect strong growth of our business based on our reliable high-performance charging solution, which is contributing to the transition towards e-mobility for passenger vehicles and trucks.”

In April, Marshall USA LLC, a subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s largest privately owned aerospace and defense business, announced it will establish a major maintenance and engineering facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, creating 240 jobs. The company says it will invest $50 million in the new Guilford County facility.

“We believe Greensboro is the ideal home of our U.S. Aerospace operations and are very grateful for the exceptional support and partnership we have received from Greensboro City Council and the State Government of North Carolina,” said Marshall Group CEO Kathy Jenkins. “We are excited to put over 55 years of C-130 experience to work in providing an unmatched standard of in-country support for existing and new U.S.-based partners and customers.”

Australia, Japan and France Weigh In

Also in April, EPOC Enviro, a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) remediation company, said it will create 226 new jobs in Iredell County. The company will invest more than $4.1 million to locate its first North American production site to Statesville. EPOC Enviro is a subsidiary of Australia-based OPEC Systems. The new location in Statesville will provide 260,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space to serve and expand its U.S. market.

“After looking at possible sites all over America we are delighted to have settled on North Carolina as the hub for our U.S. business activities,” said Peter Murphy, president of EPOC Enviro. “Statesville is perfectly situated in a beautiful corner of the country, and it is exactly the kind of community we were hoping to become an integral part of.”

The project could create a potential annual payroll impact of more than $14.5 million per year for the region and is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $712 million.

Pilkington North America, Inc. (PNA), a major glass manufacturing company, plans to invest $86.8 million in its operations in Scotland County. The project includes the rebuild of one of its two float glass lines, expansion of existing coating capabilities and other building and equipment improvements at the company’s float glass facility that will create 20 jobs in Laurinburg.

PNA is a part of the Tokyo-based NSG Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of glass and glazing systems for the automotive, architectural and creative technology business sectors.

Pilkington in the UK invented the float manufacturing process for glass in 1952, now the world standard for high quality glass production. The Laurinburg plant produces float glass for the architectural market. 

Siemens Mobility, Inc., a subsidiary of Germany’s Siemens AG, announced in March it will build a major advanced manufacturing and rail services center in Davidson County, creating 506 jobs. The company says it will invest $220 million in Lexington, creating a new carbon neutral facility that will serve the company’s East Coast markets. 

“After four decades of manufacturing trains in America and on behalf of all 4,000 Siemens Mobility employees in the U.S., we are excited to announce that we will expand to our new east coast hometown in Lexington, North Carolina,” said Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America. “Now is the moment in time for rail in America and this facility supports our strategy to grow in close proximity to our customers as well as provide us with the added capacity needed to push the boundaries of innovation.”

RFID inlays and tags manufacturer Tageos will create 64 new jobs in Henderson County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $19.25 million to establish its North American headquarters in Fletcher, in Henderson County.

Based in Montpellier, France, Tageos is a designer and manufacturer of high-tech RFID, or radio-frequency identification, inlays and tags. Its expansion to the United States will include a 50,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing and distribution center that will produce up to 5 billion units annually for various applications.

“We are very excited to come to Fletcher, Henderson County, and to open up our first manufacturing site in the U.S.,” said Matthieu Picon, CEO at Tageos. “Our investment will be instrumental in strengthening our position as a leading RFID inlays and tags manufacturer, as it will allow us to support our steadily growing number of customers in the American market even faster and in a particularly sustainable manner.” 

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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