A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Aleris Corporation opens $400 million aluminum rolling facility expansion in Hancock County

Aleris Corp. and local leaders in Hancock County on Thursday celebrated the opening of a $400 million expansion that brings the company’s 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,” Governor Matt 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.

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 www.thinkkentucky.com.

From Governor’s Office

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