Gov. Mike Beebe has just announced that Man Industries, an Indian lead pipe manufacturer, will locate its North and South American headquarters to Little Rock. The company will build a manufacturing facility at the Little Rock Port that will create 250 jobs that pay just under $12 an hour. Production is slated to begin in early 2009. The company will also add an undetermined number of non-manufacturing jobs at the new headquarters.

Man Chairman Ramesh Mansukhani said the company first began searching for a U.S. site five months ago, and that it settled on Little Rock as much for its conducive environment and friendly people as for the incentives it received. Beebe added that the company had better financial offers from other cities, although he declined to name competitors.

Man will be helped by a $3.5 million infrastructure investment from the state’s quick action fund. It will also receive tax incentives and rebates. The company is expected to invest $100 million of its own in the area.

Beebe emphasized the blue-collar aspect of the Man facility. “We’re sending a message to the rest of the country that we should not give up on manufacturing,” he said. The company agreed only just before today’s press conference to locate its headquarters as well as the manufacturing plant in Arkansas.

This is the latest in a series of announcements on foreign investment in Arkansas — Welspun and Dassault, for example, increased commitments last year.