Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined company and local officials to break ground on an 87,000 square foot addition to Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products (KAAP), LLC advanced manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, representing $66 million of new capital investment and the addition of 100 new full-time employees.
At the groundbreaking ceremony at KAAP's facilities in the South Central Kentucky Industrial Park, Gov. Beshear noted, "Today's groundbreaking marks Kobe's second major expansion in as many years tells me the global economic recovery has deep roots in Bowling Green. Kentucky once again leads the way in advanced manufacturing industry and high-skill job creation."
The 87,000 square-foot addition makes room for new furnaces and casting machines, forging presses and advanced processes used to meet increasing demand for high-quality precision aluminum components, to be delivered to the automobile industry as it expands in the Commonwealth; such as fully-forged aluminum suspension systems for fuel-efficient, low-emission cars.
"Kobe Steel had many options when we decided to establish this business in Bowling Green. We have had great experiences working in Kentucky, and we have never regretted our decision. The state of Kentucky made the decision for additional investment easy by offering financial incentives. I assure you, we do not take these incentives for granted and will do our best to fulfill our employment obligations to make this incentive program both a business success for KAAP and an economic success for Kentucky," said Susumu (Sam) Koike, President/CEO.
"We are excited to break ground and expand our operations in South Central Kentucky once again," said, Gregory Head, Corporate Secretary. "KAAP has grown and prospered here because Kentucky understands our needs and respects our customers. We look forward to many more years of collaboration with state and local officials and providing new opportunities for the exceptional people we are fortunate to employ. Our desire is to become a preferred employer in the South Central Kentucky."
The Honorable Motohiko Kato, Consul-General of Japan, Nashville, Tenn., remarked, "I congratulate Kobe on this significant event for our two countries, and look forward to visiting Bowling Green and Kentucky more frequently as the economic ties between the United States and Japan grow stronger than ever."
"Kobe has been a great corporate citizen for the past eight years, and we look forward to continuing this relationship long into the future," said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. "We congratulate them on their decision to expand here again and send well wishes for their continued growth."
"It's another great day in south central Kentucky when we can announce an expansion project like this one at Kobe," said Warren County Judge-Executive Michael Buchanon. "This company is a great example of how businesses thrive in our region, and we thank them for continuing to invest here."
Chamber Board of Directors Chair Brad Howard commented, "We thank our local and state officials for their full support of Kobe and this project. Governor Beshear, our state legislators, the City and County, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development played integral roles to ensure that this project will be a success and a benefit to the region."
"TVA congratulates Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products on the great news of their business expansion," said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. "TVA and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation are pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce to support companies like Kobe to continue to grow in their home communities."
KAAP, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products, LLC, a joint venture of Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation, has been a resident of South Central Kentucky since 2005. KAAP has been named "Industry of the Year" in 2008 and "Business of the Year" in 2012. There are 11 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, but the Bowling Green location is Kobe Steel's only U.S. facility to forge for the automotive industry.
To encourage the investment and job growth in Bowling Green, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $300,000 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.
Additional incentives are pending KEDFA approval through 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.
At the time of application for expansion incentives KAAP gainfully employed 220 full-time employees and plans to expand to a minimum of 320 by mid-2016 as a result of today's expansion. As of the day of Ground Breaking, May 15, 2013, KAAP had increased its headcount to 270 as a response to increased market demand.
Once the new facilities are completed, equipped, and hiring is completed, today's expansion will generate an economic multiplier impact of $154 million. The project will result in more than $7 million of additional local tax revenues and an additional $34 million in household spending.
Kobe's is the third economic development announcement for the Chamber thus far in 2013, with a total announced investment of nearly $92 million and 192 announced new jobs. In 2012, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce announced projects totaling 537 jobs created or retained by its efforts, resulting in over $45.6 million in capital investment.
About Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC:
For more information on Kobe Aluminum, visit www.kobeal.com
About Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Gov. Beshear:
Information on Kentucky's economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky. A detailed community profile for Bowling Green (Warren County) can be viewed at http://www.thinkkentucky.com/EDIS/cmnty/index.aspx?cw=067
Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor's personal notes on his blog at http://governor.ky.gov/blog and view his video commentaries at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce:
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is a 5-Star Accredited Chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and was named the 2009 Chamber of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. As the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,100 partners and is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.