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Cummins expanding in Columbus, plans 350 jobs

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Cummins Inc. announced Tuesday that it will expand operations in Columbus, adding at least 350 professional employees during the next 18 months.

The engine manufacturer said it has reached an agreement to purchase the First Financial Bank branch and office tower at 500 Washington St. in Columbus to meet the demand for office space. Cummins plans to invest $5.25 million in the 83,000-square-foot facility.

The new jobs will be in engineering, technical services and in other professional positions. They will support Cummins' global operations.

Cummins, which employs about 6,000 people in Indiana, began moving employees into its newest office in downtown Columbus in 2009. That building is expected to be filled in early 2011.

"Our success in our global markets has a direct benefit to Indiana where we are creating the kind of high-paying professional jobs that strengthen our community," said Cummins Chairman and CEO Tim Solso said in a prepared statement. "Simply put, growth in international markets like India, China and Brazil create jobs in Indiana."

The state of Indiana said it would provide Cummins up to $5 million in performance-related tax credits to support the job growth, as well as financial resources and other support to the community to enhance its educational systems.

The First Financial Bank buildings are directly across the street from the company's corporate office building.

Cummins expects to close the sale on the buildings by the end of this year and take possession by the end of the first quarter 2011. First Financial has plans to build a new complex at Third and Brown streets in downtown Columbus.

In July, Cummins announced a $100 million investment in an expansion of its High-Horsepower Technical Center and production line in Seymour. The company expects to add as many as 200 engineering and technical jobs there over the next five years.

The company's shares were down about 5 percent at 2:30 p.m. after Cummins reported third-quarter financial results, which failed to meet analysts' expectations.

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