A California-based microcomputer company has decided to open a plant in St. George, where it will hire up to 120 people and quickly become the city's largest employer, officials said Thursday.

Everex Systems Inc. will manufacture circuit boards at the plant and will add a scholarship program for computer technology students at Dixie College, company officials said.Gov. Norm Bangerter said the state will provide $3.5 million in industrial revenue bonds to help the company build its plant.

Steve Hui, company president, said he chose Utah because he was impressed with the students he had recruited in past years from Brigham Young University. He chose St. George because it is the home of Skywest, a small airline that will be able to quickly shuttle the company's products to California.

"I picked BYU as one of the top 10 universities where I went to recruit," Hui said, adding that St. George will be the company's first factory outside California.

Because of the local airline, the company will be able to send products to California faster than if it were based in the Salt Lake area, officials said.

"Although it may seem incongruous, St. George has some valid attractions," said Lionel Fullwood, who will become plant manager. "We believe the facility in St. George will allow us to provide new products to the marketplace."

Bangerter was quick to take credit for the new jobs, noting the Everex announcement follows one last month that PEPCON, a rocket fuel manufacturer, will build a plant in Cedar City. He is scheduled to travel to California next week with Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, and industrialist Jon Huntsman to meet with other companies they hope to persuade to move to Utah.

Fullwood said Everex will hire only five employees from outside Utah. Eighty-eight of the jobs will be for semi-skilled or unskilled workers.

Officials said the company earned $157.4 million in sales in 1987 and expects to add $5 million yearly to the economy in St. George.

Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin Sept. 15. Fullwood said the plant should be operating by mid-April.