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European-Japanese Aluminum Companies Build $150 Million Body-In-White Plant In Bowling Green, Kentucky

Area Development Online News Desk (07/02/2014)
Construction started on a joint venture between Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation to build a $150 million, 225,000 square foot, Body-in-White aluminum production facility at Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The partnership is expected to create 80 new jobs.

Constellium, a European aluminum company, and UACJ, a Japanese aluminum company, both will supply the aluminum coils that will then be treated and processed in Bowling Green. The Constellium-UACJ Body-in-White plant will produce finished aluminum body sheets for cars and trucks. The company will supply these parts to the country’s major automotive manufacturers.

According to Governor Steve Beshear’s Office, the companies chose Bowling Green for many reasons, including its location to customers and highly skilled workforce.The facility is also designed to allow for future expansion. “We are really thrilled to mark the official start of the Bowling Green plant’s construction today,” said Constellium’s CEO Pierre Vareille. “This project is highly strategic and it is the first milestone of an ambitious strategy to become a major player in the fast growing U.S. aluminum body sheet market.”

“Today, we are very pleased to take the next step forward to the initiation of the joint venture with Constellium,” said Shigenori Yamauchi, Chairman of the Board and CEO of UACJ. “We are committed to delivering our customers with advanced products, utilizing the technologies each party has separately developed in Europe and Japan.”

Tri-Arrows Aluminum will be one of the key suppliers of cold rolled aluminum coils to the new partnership. Tri-Arrows Aluminum, which is headquartered in Louisville, is a subsidiary of UACJ. The company manufactures its base aluminum coils at its joint-venture operating mill at Logan Aluminum Inc., located in Russellville. Logan is one of south central Kentucky’s largest employers with more than 1,000 full-time employees.

“The multinational project team has worked hard over the past year to go that far, and it is great to see the alignment of both shareholders,” said Pat Franc, President/CEO of Tri-Arrows.

The demand for aluminum sheets is growing as more automotive manufacturers are switching to aluminum from steel. Aluminum allows vehicles to be lighter, which helps manufacturers comply with new federal fuel standards, the Governor’s Office reported. The aluminum industry continues to play a significant role in Kentucky’s economy. In the past year, the industry has accounted for nearly $300 million in corporate investments. The industry as a whole employs more than 17,000 Kentuckians.

“What an exciting day for Bowling Green and all of Kentucky,” said Governor Beshear. “This huge investment will further solidify our role as a key player in the auto industry. I want to thank Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation for locating here, and I look forward to seeing the impact of this operation.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Warren County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $4.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $1.5 million through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, 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.

Warren County has also been certified by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board as a Work Ready Community. The certification is an assurance to business and industry that the community is committed to providing the highly skilled workforce required in today's competitive global economy.

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