Single-largest project investment by a company in Kentucky in more than a year
LEWISPORT, Ky. (Oct. 29, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company officials and local leaders to break ground on Aleris Corporation’s $350 million expanded aluminum rolling mill in Hancock County. It’s the single-largest project investment by a company in Kentucky in more than a year.
The expansion will equip Aleris with the capabilities and the technology to serve the North American automotive industry as it shifts to broader aluminum use to make lighter vehicles. The investment also will include two continuous annealing lines and a new wide cold mill. Construction will begin this fall, with a goal of shipping automotive body sheet to customers by early 2017.
Tighter fuel efficiency requirements are causing auto manufacturers to expand their use of lightweight aluminum to include hoods, door panels and trunks. The use of aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies is projected to increase to 4 billion pounds in 2025, from 200 million pounds in 2012. The production of auto body sheet requires a highly specialized heat treatment process in order to meet the precise specifications of automotive manufacturers.
Aleris, which has operated the mill in Hancock County since 1964, has expertise in this process at its Duffel, Belgium, facility where the company is a leading supplier to the European premium car industry.
Kentucky’s aluminum presence continues to grow. Last year, the industry created more than $2 billion in state gross domestic product. More than 20,000 Kentucky jobs are attributed to the industry.
To encourage the investment in Lewisport, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Aleris for tax incentives up to $11 million 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.
KEDFA also approved the company for tax benefits up to $750,000 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.