The Washington Post

Lafarge moving from Herndon

The North American headquarters of building-materials ­giant Lafarge will move from Herndon to Chicago in the fall, according to Illinois state officials who enticed the firm with financial incentives.

The Paris-based firm agreed to invest about $10 million in the move to an as-yet-undetermined site near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and to create at least 90 jobs during the first two years, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s office said.

The state, in turn, will provide an incentive package worth nearly $6.4 million, including $6.27 million in tax credits over a decade and $90,000 in job training funds, assuming the company meets hiring and investment targets.

Lafarge employed 350 people locally as of 2009, the most recent figure available. Last night it was unclear whether local employees will be offered transfers.

A manufacturer of cement and a producer of aggregates such as crushed stone, Lafarge North America employs about 4,500 people, including workers in Mexico.

“It is important to us to be close to our operations and to our customers,” John Stull, chief executive of Lafarge North America’s U.S. cement and aggregate operations, said in a statement. “The location around O’Hare and along the I-294 corridor is an ideal area for us.”

Stull said the benefits of the state’s transportation system outweigh concerns expressed by other companies about a recent income tax increase and high workers compensation costs.

“This is a mighty company, an international company that is involved in important things that we really believe in in Illinois,” Quinn said. “You have to build and make things.”

The deal was sealed last month when Quinn traveled to Europe with Chicago’s NATO summit host committee, his office said. The delegation visited NATO headquarters in Brussels, and Quinn held business meetings, including with Lafarge executives.

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