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Benteler Steel

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Construction on Benteler International's 300 acre site has begun at the Port of Caddo-Bossier. The manufacturer arrived with nearly a billion dollars in capital for the facility. However, Eric England, the port director, says they still received $29 million in incentives. Those were promised by the port in their land lease agreement.

"Three million was provided by the Caddo-Bossier Port," England explained, "$6 million from the Red River Waterway Commission, $2.6 from the Caddo Parish Commission. The remainder came from the State of Louisiana through the Louisiana Economic Development."

The port urges companies within its industrial park to make use of minority or women owned businesses through its business enterprise program. England says Benteler's contractor Walbridge, which is based in Detroit, isn't required to hire such a subcontractor.

"The port, when working with companies, asks them to make a good faith effort, not only for the company but for the general contractors to perform the work for the company," England said.

The only requirements Benteler must abide for the port incentives are simple. They just need to provide jobs and build its facility.

"Upon total completion, there will be total employment of 675 and an investment made by Benteler of approximately $900 million," England said. He adds salaries at the plant will be $50,000 a year on average.

Some of the higher paying, management jobs might not go to locals at first. North Louisiana Economic Partnership's Angie White says Benteler wants to bring in employees from elsewhere.

"We hosted a group of German and American Benteler employees, whom they want to recruit to come work at this facility," White said. "So, they came with their families in March for a week."

Most jobs will be production based. White says a facility is being constructed at Bossier Parish Community College to train Benteler employees at the cost of millions. It's another incentive for the company, paid for by several organizations.

"Bossier City, Bossier Parish, the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, the Red River Waterway Commission," White listed. "It was a variety of sources, as well as the state."

England says that incentive and those based on taxes aren't part of the $29 million the port guarantees. The training center at BPCC will be used by other manufacturers in the area once Benteler is done with it. England expects the Benteler facility to be at full production in 2015.

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