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Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Expands Bowling Green, Kentucky, Plant

Less than two years after opening its plant, Japan-based automotive parts manufacturer Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. will expand with a $42 million investment in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The project will bring its total planned employment to 220 and overall investment to $95 million in the state.

The plant manufactures aluminum bumper and sub-frame materials. Kobelco plans to add a new melting furnace, extrusion press and fabrication equipment. Company leaders plan to start construction in January 2019 and start production in the expanded operation in the first half of 2020.

“Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. was established in April 2016 using our technology from Japan, and with the cooperation of Kentucky officials, our customers, and all the employees working at Kobelco, we were able to successfully begin mass production here in the US,” said Hiroaki Matsubara, Kobe Steel senior managing executive officer. “And now, supported by even more robust demand for our products, we are proud to announce that we will be making our second major investment in our operations in less than two years. With that, our aim is to continue to make our contribution to the weight reduction of automobiles and to further develop our business footprint in the Bowling Green facility.”

Kobe Steel, Kobelco’s corporate parent, initially announced the Warren County plant in mid-2016 and built it near an existing sister plant, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC on Central Avenue in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park. The Kobelco facility opened in February 2017.

Founded in 1905 and headquartered in Kobe and Tokyo, Kobe Steel operates worldwide under the KOBELCO brand. The company added aluminum and copper to its lineup of businesses in 1917. With numerous corporate subsidiaries, Kobe now offers a diverse range of products and services including steel, welding materials, industrial machinery, infrastructure and plant engineering services, construction equipment and electric power supply.

Kobe employs over 37,000 people at more than 100 locations around the world.KAAP, the sister facility in Bowling Green, opened in 2005 and produces forged suspension components for cars and SUVs. That plant employs about 500 people. In spring 2017 KAAP announced a $53 million expansion, the facility’s seventh, adding 129 jobs.

“This major expansion by Kobelco underscores that Kentucky is the nation’s leader in both aluminum and automotive-related production,” Governor Matt Bevin said. “As America’s engineering and manufacturing center of excellence, we will continue to support the growth and success of existing employers like Kobelco, through a strong business climate, low-cost energy rates, quick access to raw materials, proximity to key markets, and custom-designed workforce development programs.”

Kobelco currently has two performance-based incentive agreements from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, which are designed to encourage investment and job growth for the state.In addition, Kobelco can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.

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