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Kobe Aluminum Breaks Ground on New Expansion

kobe allum 300BOWLING GREEN, Ky (5/16/13) – Governor Steve Beshear yesterday joined company and local officials at Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC (KAAP) in Bowling Green to break ground on the company’s second expansion in recent months. Kobe Aluminum plans to add an 87,000-square-foot building, resulting in 100 new, full-time jobs and a capital investment of up to $66 million.

The news comes on the heels of another expansion announcement at the plant. In November 2012, Gov. Beshear and company officials announced Kobe Aluminum would invest $11 million in Bowling Green for the construction of a new 39,000-square-foot building on One Kobe Way in Bowling Green, creating 15 new, full-time jobs.

“I was fortunate to be here in November to announce a significant expansion for Kobe Aluminum, but this one is even better, with 100 more jobs and a $66 million investment on the way,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are proud to have Kobe here in the Commonwealth, and especially happy to see the company’s continued growth and success.”

Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC, a joint venture of Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has been a corporate citizen in south central Kentucky since 2005. The plant currently has more than 270 full-time employees and has invested more than $100 million in its Bowling Green facility since opening its doors.

There are 11 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, but the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry. The new, 87,000-square-foot addition makes room for new furnaces, casting machines, forging presses and advanced presses used to meet increasing demand for high-quality precision aluminum components for the automobile industry.

“Kobe Steel had many options when we decided to establish this business in Bowling Green,” said Susumu (Sam) Koike, KAAP president and CEO. “We have had great experiences working in Kentucky, and we have never regretted our decision. The Commonwealth made the decision for additional investment easy by offering financial incentives. I assure you, we do not take these incentives for granted and will do our best to fulfill our employment obligations to make this incentive program both a business success for KAAP and an economic success for Kentucky.”

“We are excited to break ground and expand our operations in south central Kentucky once again,” said Gregory Head, KAAP corporate secretary. “KAAP has grown and prospered here because Kentucky understands our needs and respects our customers. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with state and local officials and opening new opportunities for the exceptional people we are fortunate to employ. Our desire is to become a preferred employer in south central Kentucky.”

The Kobe Steel Group, a global enterprise built around Kobe Steel Ltd., founded in 1905, is engaged in business in a wide range of fields, with its major businesses concentrated on materials and machinery. The material businesses are comprised of iron and steel, welding, and aluminum and copper products, while machinery includes industrial and construction machinery, as well as natural resources and engineering and environmental solutions. Other important businesses are wholesale power supply and real estate. Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation are among the biggest Japanese trading firms.

To encourage the additional investment and job growth in Bowling Green, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $300,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA), which allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

Kobe Aluminum previously received preliminary approval for its initial expansion project in the amount of $325,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program, which is expected to be increased at the time of final approval to reflect the increased job growth and investment. A separate KEIA approval in the amount of $144,000 was also previously granted.

“I am thrilled with the latest expansion for Kobe, it affirms our community as a central automotive supplier,” said Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green. “We are blessed with great geography and even better people.”

“Our community has been fortunate over the years to play a major role in Kentucky’s automotive industry, and companies like Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products are the main reason why,” said Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green. “I cannot thank its leaders enough for investing so much, and for the faith they have put into our second-to-none workforce. I also want to thank Gov. Beshear for being here to help us celebrate and for working with me and other local officials in helping to make today’s ground breaking possible.”

“Kobe has been a great corporate citizen for the past eight years, and we look forward to continuing this relationship long into the future,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “We congratulate them on their decision to expand here again and send well wishes for their continued growth.”

“It's another great day in south central Kentucky when we can announce an expansion project like this one at Kobe,” said Warren County Judge-Executive Michael Buchanon. “This company is a great example of how businesses thrive in our region, and we thank them for continuing to invest here.”

For more information on Kobe Aluminum, visit www.kobeal.com.

SurfKY News
Information provided by the Governor’s Office of Communications

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