Japanese-owned automotive supplier to invest $11 million in the Commonwealth


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined company and local officials to announce Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC is expanding operations in Bowling Green. The company plans to create 15 new, full-time jobs and invest $11 million in the construction of a new 39,000-square-foot building and the purchase of new equipment.


Kobe Aluminum is a shining example of Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry,” said Gov. Beshear. “These 15 new jobs and an $11 million investment speak volumes about the confidence Kobe Aluminum has in Kentucky’s workforce and the success the company has enjoyed here in the Commonwealth.”


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. The plant currently has more than 200 full-time employees and has invested nearly $100 million in its Bowling Green facility since opening its doors. Kobe has added more than 50 employees to its payroll since 2011.


There are 11 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, but the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry. The expansion project will manufacture the cast aluminum bars for compressors for air conditioning on vehicles.


“We are excited to announce our expansion in south central Kentucky,” said Kobe representatives. “This region has been a great supporter of our company, and we’re committed to continuing to employ south central Kentucky residents and to investing in the region. We’re grateful for the assistance that our local, regional and state leaders have provided to us.”

The Kobe Steel Group, a global enterprise built around Kobe Steel Ltd., founded in 1905, is engaged in business in a wide range of fields, with its major businesses concentrated on materials and machinery. The material businesses are comprised of iron and steel, welding, and aluminum and copper products, while machinery includes industrial and construction machinery, as well as natural resources and engineering and environmental solutions. Other important businesses are wholesale power supply and real estate. Mitsui & Co Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation are among the biggest Japanese trading firms.


To encourage the investment and job growth in Bowling Green, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $325,000 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. 


“It is with distinct pleasure that I welcome the expansion of the automotive footprint in our community,” said Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green. “Our people know manufacturing and job-creators know it.”


“Our community has built a sterling reputation in the automotive industry, and companies like Kobe Aluminum are a key reason why,” said Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green. “I want to thank the company for taking on this expansion, which to me underscores just how much it values our quality of life and second-to-none workforce. I also appreciate the assistance our local and state officials gave to help make this possible.”


Kobe Aluminum received the “John B. Holland Business of the Year” award for 2012 at Bowling Green’s Annual Chamber Dinner and was also recognized as Industry of the Year in 2008. Additionally, with significant support from local government, Central Avenue has now been renamed as Kobe Way, with the company’s new address as One Kobe Way.


“Kobe has been a great corporate citizen for the past seven 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 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.”  


Warren County has also been certified by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board as a Work Ready Certified 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.


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.



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