Lafarge moving North American HQ to Illinois

ROSEMONT – Concrete manufacturer Lafarge North America will relocate its headquarters to Illinois from Virginia, a move that is expected to create around 100 jobs, officials announced Tuesday.

The company, headquartered in Reston, Va., already has a presence in Illinois with a facility in South Chicago and about 300 employees statewide. The relocation would move its administrative offices and create around 90 jobs in the first two years. Company officials haven't determined a timeline for the move or the exact location but said the new headquarters would be near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

"The location and all of the infrastructure this area offers is very important: the airport, the trains, the rivers, the lakes, the roads," John Stull, a CEO for Larfarge's cement and aggregate concrete operations, said at a news conference.

He added that the company does a majority of its business in the Midwest and a Chicago-area location made sense.

In exchange, Illinois is offering about $6.3 million in tax incentives to the company, which the company only gets if it meets certain job creation and economic targets.

Illinois has come under fire in recent months with some business groups and companies alleging an unfriendly business climate because of high taxes and state budget woes including $8 billion in unpaid bills. Earlier this year Peoria-based heavy equipment maker Caterpillar decided to bypass Illinois as it looked to build a new plant — and create 1,400 jobs — to handle work being relocated from Japan.

Gov. Pat Quinn, who has defended Illinois as business-friendly, said Tuesday's news illustrated just that. Quinn hosted Lafarge at a business investment event with European-based companies during a trip to Belgium last month.

"I'll go anywhere in the world for jobs in Illinois," Quinn said.

Lafarge is a subsidiary of Lafarge SA, the world's largest cement-maker, which is based in France.