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Three Firms Plan More Than $29 Million Investment To Expand Manufacturing Centers In Western Michigan

Area Development Online News Desk (06/12/2014)
Three business expansion projects are expected to generate more than $29 million in investments and add up to 292 new jobs in West Michigan. The firms received financial assistance from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation said.

“Michigan’s leadership in making things and making things work shines through in these new expansions of our automotive and alternative energy sectors. The commitment of these companies to grow and create jobs here demonstrates the importance of our greatly improved business climate and infrastructure,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “Today’s investments will all lead to greater economic opportunities for people across Michigan, drive future business investment and create more and better jobs.”

WKW Roof Rail Systems, a division of WKW Erbsloeh North America, a newly formed subsidiary of Germany-based WKW.automotive, manufactures aluminum automotive parts for the North American automotive industry.

The company currently has a sales office in Troy and a manufacturing facility in Portage. The manufacturer plans to establish WKW Roof Rail Systems by purchasing the former Toyota Tsusho America facility in Battle Creek, Michigan, to produce aluminum roof rail systems for the North American automotive market. The company will invest up to $23 million and create 186 jobs, resulting in a $950,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In addition, the City of Battle Creek is offering support to the project in the form of property tax abatement.

“After the successful acquisition of Bowers Manufacturing Company in Portage, Michigan, the management team acknowledged the need to expand the production area. As we intend to build-up the extrusion business in North America in the same way we serve the European market, we need more space for anodizing and assembly of roof rail systems,” said WKW.automotive CEO Peter Kruft. “When we presented our future planning, we appreciated it very much to receive such valuable support from the State of Michigan, especially Governor Rick Snyder, and all other involved authorities.”

“Governor Snyder's meeting with WKW executives in Germany underscored our strong relationship with the company and demonstrated again that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever,” said MEDC President /CEO Michael A. Finney. “The opening of the facility in Battle Creek will further strengthen WKW’s Michigan presence and provide additional high paying jobs for years to come.”

“WKW is an exceptional, global company, and we are thrilled to have them select the City of Battle Creek for their new location and future expansion,” said Battle Creek Unlimited President and CEO Karl Dehn. “WKW is a leader in roof rail system technologies and is poised for rapid growth in the North American automotive market. Battle Creek and our region are very fortunate to have 185 new job opportunities and more than $20 million in private investment added to our growing economy.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund also approved incentives for the following projects:

Cascade Die Casting Group Inc., headquartered in Grand Rapids, manufactures aluminum and zinc die casting, primarily for the automotive industry. The company is expanding its facilities in the Village of Sparta and Gaines Township, investing approximately $5.3 million and creating 50 jobs.

As a result of the expansion, Cascade has been awarded a $275,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The Village of Sparta and Gaines Township have offered support to the project in the form of property tax abatement.

SolarBOS is a solar equipment manufacturing company based in Livermore, California .The company has grown to a point where it needs to manufacture its products closer to its customers in the east and southeast. The company plans to open a new facility in the City of Walker, investing a total of $884,000 and creating up to 56 jobs. As a result, the company has been awarded a $250,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. The City of Walker anticipates supporting the project with a P.A. 198 property tax abatement.

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