German energy giant plans Arundel base; RAG Corp. is building its U.S. headquarters in Linthicum; 90 new, high-paying jobs


Germany's RAG Corp., the world's second-largest coal producer, will establish its U.S. headquarters in Linthicum next year, bringing 90 high-paying jobs to Anne Arundel County.

Company officials announced yesterday that RAG expects to move in the spring into a new 70,000-square-foot building, consolidating operations from West Virginia, New York, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

RAG, an international energy and technology group founded in 1969, has more than 100,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of $17 billion.

Although the company's U.S. presence is primarily based on coal, RAG also specializes in mining, engineering, power generation, chemicals and plastics.

Richard C. Mike Lewin, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, yesterday joined elected officials and RAG executives at a dedication ceremony at the construction site of the new headquarters building in the Hock Business Park on West Nursery Road.

"This isn't about jobs for jobs' sake, because we have plenty of jobs," Lewin said. "Our new challenge is to upgrade the quality of jobs and the quality of the companies so that Maryland is as competitive as any place in the world."

Thomas Soderstrom, U.S. liaison for RAG, said the company employs about 5,500 at 44 U.S. facilities that earn about $2 billion annually. About 80 of the Linthicum jobs will be open to Marylanders, and 10 current employees will be transferred to Linthicum. Most of the new jobs are managerial and will pay an average of $93,000 a year, Soderstrom said.

The company will join 65 other German companies and 800 other foreign businesses that have locations in Maryland.

Dagnia Zeidlickis, senior manager for strategic relocation and expansion services for KPMG, the McLean, Va., consulting company that helped RAG decide on the Linthicum move, said the German firm has a "magnificent global presence."

"And it is here in Maryland," she said, "in Anne Arundel County. This is really significant."

Company officials also had considered locations in Pittsburgh, Denver and in West Virginia.

Gerhard Neipp, RAG's management board chairman, said Maryland was chosen for its superior infrastructure, its proximity to Washington, its premier research laboratories, Baltimore's port and the region's international airports. Neipp said the $5 million move shows RAG's "strong commitment to [the company's] U.S. market."

Lewin said the state is providing a "modest" incentive package, including job-creation tax breaks, worker training funds and a loan that needs General Assembly approval.

William A. Badger, chief executive officer of Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp., said the county is one of Maryland's top five in the number of foreign businesses.

But he said 40 percent of county residents still commute out of Arundel for their jobs, so the county welcomes RAG Corp.'s new, high-end jobs.

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