Nash News

Kobe Aluminum expands in Bowling Green

FRANKFORT, Ky. –– Gov. Matt Bevin has announced Kobe Aluminum
Automotive Products (KAAP) will expand for a seventh time in Bowling Green,
investing more than $51 million and creating 129 full-time jobs.

“This expansion by Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products is a shining example of growth among advanced manufacturers in Kentucky,” Gov. Bevin said in a press release from his office. “Since establishing its Bowling Green plant in 2004, KAAP has proven itself an excellent corporate partner in the Commonwealths automotive industry. We are grateful for the company’s dedication to the state and are excited to see this remarkable success continue.”

KAAP will add more than 108,000 square feet to accommodate new production lines and equipment, including a melting furnace, forging presses and heat-treatment, casting and machining lines, the release said. The additional capacity will allow the company to meet increased sales goals. Company leaders expect the project to take approximately one year, with the start of production targeted for fall 2018.

“This is our 12th year producing aluminum automobile suspension parts in Kentucky.
Two years ago we decided to make our sixth investment, and due to the increasing
necessity of lighter vehicles, we have decided to make another investment,” said
Toshihiro Katsura, KAAP president and CEO. “This will be our seventh additional
investment, and we are truly grateful to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for all of the
support and incentives we have received.”

The plants previous expansions total $293 million and it currently employs 500
Kentucky residents full-time. KAAP manufactures lightweight aluminum parts,
including upper and lower control arms and steering knuckles.

KAAP, based in Kobe, Japan, has served its home country’s aircraft and automotive
industries since 1937, primarily manufacturing forged aluminum suspension products.
The company is part of the Kobe Steel Group, known internationally as KOBELCO.

Kentuckys automotive industry includes more than 500 facilities employing
100,000-plus residents full-time. The state ranks first nationally in light-vehicle
production per-capita and is one of the top automotive production states overall.

The KAAP announcement brings the states 2017 automotive-sector total investment to
more than $1.43 billion with nearly 280 new full-time jobs.

Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green, said the company has had an ongoing impact on
the community.

“The expansion of Kobe Aluminum here in Bowling Green marks a great day for both our city and our Commonwealth,” Sen. Wilson said. “KAAP has successfully expanded in previous years, and this newest expansion will create more than a hundred new
Kentucky jobs. I thank KAAP for its dedication to Kentuckys workforce and look
forward to the companys continuous growth in our region.”

Rep. Jim DeCesare, of Bowling Green, noted KAAPs importance to the local economic
and workforce.

“Kobe Aluminum continues to invest in our region to the tune of nearly $52 million
and 129 new jobs,” Rep. DeCesare said. “Since 2005, they have expanded six times for a total of $293 million pumped into our region. I commend them for this recent
investment, and am proud to continue to support pro-business initiatives to
encourage this exact type of growth.”

Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon welcomed the expansion and its economic

“We are proud that KAAP continues to call Warren County home,” Judge-Executive
Buchanon said. “Seven expansions in 12 years is a great testament to their success as
a leader in an industry primed for growth. I extend our sincerest gratitude to KAAP
for being such an important part of our local economy.”

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said the new jobs and investment build on the
companys long partnership with the city.

“KAAP continues to have a tremendous impact on the city and our local economy,” said
Mayor Wilkerson. “Their growth and success since locating to Bowling Green in 2005 is
astonishing and we are grateful for all KAAP does for our community.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in April preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Additionally, KEDFA approved KAAP for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the
Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act. 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.

In addition, KAAP can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through
the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job
placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.