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Czech gun company to open manufacturing plant in Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Czech gun manufacturer will open its North American headquarters in Little Rock at a production plant that the company said will ultimately hire 565 employees, Arkansas officials announced Tuesday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said CZ-USA will invest up to $90 million over a six-year period to build and staff a factory in the state's capital city. Hutchinson appeared at a news conference with Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott and other officials.

CZ-USA chairman Bogdan Heczko said Little Rock felt like home when company representatives visited the city last year. He said the city's "trained workforce" and gun-friendly attitude "really aligned with our company culture."

CZ-USA also operates a Dan Wesson plant in Norwich, New York, and a small distribution and marketing plant in Kansas City, Kansas, which will close when it opens the planned 265,000 square-foot (24,619 square-meter) facility in Little Rock.

According to Arkansas Economic Development Commission spokeswoman Brandi Hinkle, the company will receive an incentive package from the state that includes $18 million in forgivable loans, $6 million in infrastructure and training grants, and tax rebates and refunds. In order to qualify for some of the incentives, the company will need to spend a minimum of $2 million in new hires within the first two years.

Little Rock Chamber of Commerce President Jay Chesshir said Pulaski County, the city and its port authority offered infrastructure improvement, road construction and the 73-acre (30 hectare) site. Central Arkansas is home to a number of gun manufacturers, including a Sig Sauer facility in Jacksonville and a Remington plant in Lonoke.

This story has been corrected by deleting that the company will be required to pay $22 per hour to meet incentive requirements. The correct incentive package requires the company to spend a minimum of $2 million in new hires within two years.

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