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Another Agreement for CenturyLink and LA

CenturyLink and Louisiana have entered into an incentive agreement that will keep the company headquartered in Monroe through at least 2020, expand its location there, and produce 800 new jobs in the state by 2016.

To secure the headquarters expansion agreement, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) negotiated a customized incentive package, including a performance-based grant of $14.9 million to pay for 50 percent of building or leasing additional space in Monroe, as well as a performance-based grant of $3.3 million to reimburse relocation costs.

LED also will provide $1.2 million over four years to expand CenturyLink’s telecommunications partnership with Louisiana Tech University (initially announced with the expansion in 2009) and up to 150,000 square feet of discounted space in the state-owned Accent Building in Monroe through 2015—if needed as swing space for CenturyLink staff during construction of expanded headquarters facilities. In addition, the company is expected to continue utilizing Louisiana FastStart™, as well as LED’s Quality Jobs program.

LED estimates the direct jobs, including but not limited to relocated positions, will average more than $65,000 plus benefits and result in the creation of approximately 1,170 indirect jobs, for a total impact of nearly 1,970 new positions.

Once completed, LED expects the expansion will make CenturyLink the top economic-driver company in Northeast Louisiana and one of the Top 10 economic-driver companies statewide, based on its direct and indirect employment impact.

Upon completing its Qwest merger in April 2010, CenturyLink now operates a fiber network of 190,000 route-miles in 37 states. The combined company had $18.5 billion in pro forma revenues in 2010. CenturyLink serves more than 5 million broadband customers and more than 15 million access lines across the U.S.

“We appreciate the state’s efforts to support CenturyLink’s growth during this pivotal time in our history,” CenturyLink CEO and President Glen F. Post III said. “As we move forward, we will continually evaluate our staffing needs to support our business, and we are pleased to remain headquartered in Louisiana. Our expectation is that our Northeast Louisiana-based workforce will grow over the next five years through job creation, voluntary employee turnover in locations outside Louisiana, employee-initiated moves to pursue career opportunities and, in some cases, business decisions to move jobs currently located elsewhere to Northeast Louisiana.”

A Fortune 500 company, CenturyLink currently has about 1,970 employees in Louisiana. After completion of the expansions described in the incentive agreements announced in 2009 and today, the company’s Louisiana employment will have increased by more than 60 percent to approximately 2,970 direct employees. LED estimates the company’s total employment impact following the expansion will be approximately 7,400 direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana.

“This company’s commitment and expansion within our community means hundreds of new jobs and opportunities for our children. Now, when students are graduating and looking for a good-paying job with a leading company—Monroe will be among some of the top cities on the list,” said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo.

CenturyLink’s stature as a provider of broadband communications, Internet Protocol TV, cloud computing and data hosting services cements Louisiana’s growing presence in the digital media technology sector.

“As Louisiana places a greater emphasis on cultivating the digital interactive media industry, CenturyLink’s growing portfolio of technology services really strengthens our state’s position in that arena,” said LED Secretary Stephen Moret. “We’re convinced that digital media and software development will raise Louisiana’s economic standing in a meaningful way and that CenturyLink will be a major player in that growth.”

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