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Employers promise jobs, seek tax breaks

Red Hat, others look to expand

More than a dozen companies, including Red Hat Inc. and IPG Photonics Corp., are seeking state and local tax incentives to expand their facilities, according to state economic development documents.

Red Hat, a North Carolina software developer best known for marketing a version of the Linux computer operating system, tentatively plans to expand its engineering headquarters in Westford in exchange for such aid.

The $52.7 million project would add 181 jobs and retain 233. Town officials have already approved a $927,000 property tax break for the company, but the state could award the firm up to $5 million more in state tax credits.

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IPG Photonics Corp., which manufactures high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers for medical and industrial uses, is planning to add more than 100,000 square feet to its Oxford headquarters. The $18 million project could add 175 jobs to the 749 the company already has in the town. IPG could potentially receive as much as $1.8 million in state tax breaks, in addition to a $431,000 local tax break.

The investments come at a time when Massachusetts companies have slowly increased their hiring, especially in the tech sector, as the economy gradually improves. On Thursday, officials said the state jobless rate fell to 7 percent, the lowest in nearly three years.

Four other firms are seeking state and local incentives: Harbar Inc., a tortilla and wrap maker, that plans to add 30 jobs in Canton; Classic Envelope Inc., an envelope maker, that plans to add 40 jobs in Douglas; Custom Carbide Corp., a small manufacturer, says it will add 21 in Springfield; and Gorton’s Inc., the frozen fish stick maker, plans to add 20 jobs in Gloucester.

Eight other companies have negotiated local property tax breaks for their expansions, but are not seeking state aid. For instance, Cell Signaling Technology Inc. won a $91,000 tax break in Beverly for its plan to move into a vacant 85,000-square-foot building. The firm promised to add 100 jobs and retain 306 more.

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A state economic development board, the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council, is expected to vote on the tax incentives on Wednesday.


Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.