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KY: Aleris Opens $400M Aluminum Rolling Mill Expansion in Hancock County

17 Nov, 2017


Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated Aleris Corp. and local leaders in Hancock County, Kentucky, on opening a $400 million expansion that brings the Lewisport mill new capacity, equipment and expertise to produce aluminum auto body sheet for the automotive industry.

“This investment by Aleris Corp. at its Lewisport mill is a tremendous compliment to the community and to Kentucky,” Gov. Bevin said. “Not only will this expansion ensure ongoing employment for nearly 1,000 Kentuckians, it will also help the state attract additional investments and jobs. We are grateful to Aleris for their vote of confidence in Kentucky and look forward to many years of continued economic success.”

The three-year project included installation of two continuous annealing lines and a wide cold mill. Those provide the technology and additional capacity to manufacture high-quality rolled alloy sheet for the North American automotive industry.

In addition to the new equipment, Aleris applied expertise in a specialized heat treatment process used at its Duffel, Belgium facility. That plant is a leading supplier to Europe’s premium car industry and the method will ensure the Lewisport facility’s products meet automaker specifications. The project also helps Aleris maintain its nearly 1,000-person Lewisport workforce.

“The opening of our new automotive facility in Kentucky represents a significant milestone in our growth strategy that will help create an exciting future for our employees and the Lewisport community,” said Sean Stack, Aleris chairman and CEO. “As an experienced supplier to automotive manufacturers in Europe, we look forward to partnering with customers more closely now in North America to bring them the most advanced auto body sheet products in the industry.”

Aleris, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is a privately held, global leader in aluminum rolled products and extrusions, aluminum recycling and specification alloy production. The company serves a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, industrial, rail and trucking. Its 1.6-million-square-foot Hancock County mill opened in 1966. Aleris operates a total 13 production facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

Kentucky has emerged as a hotbed of aluminum production in North America due in large part to the increasing federal standards automakers face for greater fuel economy and lower emissions. Vehicle producers are cutting weight – and therefore fuel consumption – through lightweight aluminum body panels, suspension parts, structural pieces and mechanical components. 

Aluminum-related companies announced 92 new-facility or expansion projects in Kentucky since the beginning of 2014. Those projects total more than $2.6 billion in corporate investment in fewer than four years. That’s well above the approximately $1 billion announced 2001-2013. That growth is creating more than 2,800 full-time jobs, surging the industry’s employment beyond 20,000 people in Kentucky. 

In addition to the strong automotive demand, the state’s already robust aluminum industry – including Aleris – its proximity to automakers and suppliers in the Midwest and South, and its increasingly pro-business environment all helped it win new investments. 

Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro, said the company has been a reliable business partner to the region. 

“I am pleased that Aleris Corp. will be celebrating the ribbon cutting of its $400 million aluminum mill in Lewisport,” Sen. Bowen said. “This company has been a great community partner and employer in Hancock County and the surrounding areas, and I look forward to Aleris Corp.’s continual success in our state and beyond.” 

Rep. Dean Schamore, of Hardinsburg, noted Kentucky’s place as a leading aluminum producer. 

“I want to thank Aleris Corporation for making such a significant investment in both its mill and the outstanding workforce that keeps it running,” Rep. Schamore said. “I also was proud to join with our state and local leaders in helping to make today’s ceremony possible.  Events like this are proof that we can do great things when we’re all pulling in the same direction.  Kentucky is a worldwide leader in aluminum production and will be even further ahead thanks to the upgrades that have been made here.” 

Lewisport Mayor Chad Gregory said he looks forward to an even stronger relationship between the company and city. 

“On behalf of the Lewisport City Council members, congratulations to Aleris and its employees on their continued success,” Mayor Gregory said. “This expansion adds to the diversity of the workforce in this region for years to come. Today, we celebrate this successful plant expansion and the company’s bright future in Lewisport.” 

Hancock County Judge-Executive Jack McCaslin thanked those involved with the project and said Aleris has already had a positive impact on the community. 

“This is a real shot in the arm for Hancock County. Aleris is investing $400 million to revitalize an existing building, and we’re confident they’ll be here for years to come,” Judge-Executive McCaslin said. “I want to thank the company for deciding to locate in Kentucky and Hancock County, and I want to thank the governor and the state staff for helping to bring it here. It’s already been a real economic boon the last couple of years through construction, and I look forward to seeing what impact Aleris will have on Hancock County for years to come.” 

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April gave final approval to the company for up to $11 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act (KRA). KRA is designed to assist companies that need to make significant capital investment in Kentucky facilities in order to remain competitive.

Additionally, in 2014 KEDFA approved Aleris for up to $750,000 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. 

For more information on Aleris, visit www.aleris.com

A detailed community profile for Hancock County can be viewed at http://bit.ly/HancockCoKY

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

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