FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2015) – Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC (KAAP), a supplier for the automotive industry, will add 112 jobs with a $57 million investment in its Bowling Green facility, Governor Steve Beshear announced today.
“Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products has enjoyed great success since locating in the Commonwealth in 2005,” Gov. Beshear said. “This expansion will help the company continue to work hand-in-hand with the changing auto industry and its emphasis on using aluminum.”
The more than 116,000-square-foot addition will provide KAAP with capacity for substantial equipment upgrades. The company anticipates growing its business in coming years, and the expansion will support those changes. Construction will begin in December and is expected to be finished by October 2016.
KAAP began production in Bowling Green in 2005 and currently employs 368 Kentuckians. The company invested in five previous expansions totaling $236 million.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to grow our business and provide new careers to many south-central Kentucky residents,” said Chris Boggs, general affairs and human resources manager for KAAP. “We look forward to adding new members to the KAAP family, and we are proud of the impact this will have on our state, city and community.”
KAAP, based in Kobe, Japan, has served its home country’s aircraft and automotive industry since 1937, primarily manufacturing forged aluminum suspension products. The company is part of the Kobe Steel Group, known internationally as KOBELCO. KAAP develops lightweight aluminum parts contributing to the overall reduction in vehicle weight, which helps to lower fuel consumption and emissions.
The Commonwealth is home to more than 150 aluminum facilities – from mills to makers of end-user products – and the industry employs nearly 18,000 full-time workers. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Kentucky has the greatest capacity to produce aluminum in the nation. Aluminum accounts for $2 billion in the state’s gross domestic product.
There are currently more than 170 Japanese-owned facilities in Kentucky employing nearly 42,000 people. Since January 2014, Japanese-owned facilities have announced 59 new locations or expansion projects with a total investment greater than $897.3 million and more than 2,000 new full-time jobs.
“We are excited for yet another expansion for Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products in Bowling Green,” said Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green. “This new investment will be of great benefit to our community, especially in the jobs it will provide. We appreciate everyone who worked hard to make this expansion possible.”
“Kobe Aluminum has been a great partner with our community and a significant contributor to our robust economy,” said House Speaker Pro Tem Jody Richards, of Bowling Green. “This additional investment will ensure Bowling Green remains a top economic driver for our region. I appreciate Kobe Aluminum for their commitment to our community and the economic development efforts of Governor Beshear, our local officials and the business community.”
“Kobe Aluminum plays a vital role in Warren County’s economy, and I am glad to see the Cabinet for Economic Development working with our community to promote such opportunities,” said Rep. Jim DeCesare, of Bowling Green. “We should do all we can to create a pro-business environment that allows for similar expansions throughout our Commonwealth. I applaud the Cabinet for recognizing the impact our county has on Kentucky, and I look forward to future opportunities that will continue to advance our county and our Commonwealth.”
“We are excited and pleased about Kobe’s planned expansion to their Bowling Green facility,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “Their economic contribution to our community is significant and I look forward to their continued growth and success in Bowling Green.”
“Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products has been a driving force in the growth of our automotive industry for a decade and we are proud to call them part of our community,” said Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon. “I am pleased to congratulate them on this recent expansion, and I thank them for their continued commitment to south-central Kentucky.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.7 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Additionally, KAAP was approved by KEDFA for $300,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA 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.
KAAP also is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
For more information on KAAP, visit www.kobeal.com.
A detailed community profile for Bowling Green (Warren County) can be viewed here.