Brandt to buy first U.S. manufacturing plant

A Canadian farm and industrial equipment manufacturer is preparing to set up its first U.S. base to make farm equipment for U.S. corn and soybean growers.

The Regina-based Brandt Group, whose farm equipment lines include loaders and skid steers as well as augers, conveyors and vacuums for grain handling, announced Friday it will buy a Kongskilde Industries farm equipment plant in McLean County, Illinois, north of Bloomington-Normal.

Brandt said it expects to close its deal Dec. 15 for the 200,000-square foot plant, which is set up on a 40-acre site and comes with “the latest tooling, including a modern powder-coat paint line.”

Financial terms of its deal with Kongskilde were not disclosed in Brandt’s release Friday.

However, Bloomington’s Pantagraph newspaper reported Saturday that the Illinois government will forgive $1.1 million in state income taxes for Brandt, while local-level governments have approved tax abatements worth at least $630,000 (all figures US$).

The local tax abatements are tied to job creation benchmarks, including 50 local employees in 2018 and 300 in 2024, the newspaper reported, quoting Brandt officials as saying the company hopes to bring up to 500 jobs to the area.

Brandt said it plans to spend $13 million on plant improvements in the next couple of years and another $8 million in the eight years following, the Pantagraph reported last month.

“We are very excited at the opportunity to expand our manufacturing footprint directly into the American market,” Brandt president Shaun Semple said in the company’s release Friday.

“This is a world-class manufacturing facility and we are delighted to add it to other recent major investments in Canadian centres such as Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary and Fort St. John.”

Brandt said its first foray into U.S.-based manufacturing “augments an aggressive growth strategy currently underway in Canada.”

Brandt’s deal also closes the book on U.S. farm equipment manufacturing for Kongskilde. The Danish company late last year announced a deal to sell its tillage and hay and forage equipment manufacturing businesses to U.S. ag equipment giant New Holland.

Kongskilde officials told the Pantagraph on Saturday that the company will relocate its remaining industrial assembly employees to another nearby plant, but will no longer make any of its few remaining ag equipment lines in the U.S.

Kongskilde had entered North America through Canada in 1960 but moved its North American grain handling and industrial equipment businesses south to Bloomington in 2002.

The Danish firm shut its Canadian tillage equipment production line in 2003 and outsourced its North American tillage equipment production to other companies until 2010.

Kongskilde that year bought another U.S. ag equipment manufacturer, Progressive Farm Products, and consolidated all its North American operations in the Bloomington area. –– Network


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