MONROE, La. (AP) – Telecommunications provider CenturyLink will expand its Monroe headquarters and expand its payroll in Louisiana by 800 over the next five years under a state incentive agreement announced Tuesday.
The additional positions will be added to a 350-job expansion announced in 2009. The state economic development agency said the jobs would average about $65,000 annually.
CenturyLink currently has 1,970 employees in Louisiana.
The state is providing an incentive package, including a grant of $14.9 million to cover half of the cost to build or lease additional space and a $3.3 million grant to reimburse relocation costs.
"As we move forward, we will continually evaluate our staffing needs to support our business, and we are pleased to remain headquartered in Louisiana," said CenturyLink CEO Glen Post.
Part of the deal calls for rapidly expanding CenturyLink to remain headquartered in Monroe through at least 2020. The additional payroll could involve relocated positions stemming from CenturyLink's acquisitions of two other telephone providers, Embarq and Qwest Communications International.
CenturyLink is now the country's third-largest phone company by number of lines, with 15 million scattered over 37 states. It has about 5 million broadband customers.
In April, CenturyLink agreed to buy information technology services provider Savvis for $2.5 billion in cash and stock, a deal expected to expand the company's hosting and cloud computing services it offers to business customers.
"CenturyLink is truly one of Louisiana's great business success stories, and we are thrilled they will continue their growth right here in Louisiana," Gov. Bobby Jindal said.
The state also will provide $1.2 million to expand CenturyLink's telecommunications partnership with Louisiana Tech University and up to 150,000 square feet in a state-owned building that the company can use – at a discount – for staff until the headquarter expansion is finished.