Novelis Inc. has broken ground on its USD300 million automotive aluminium sheet manufacturing plant in Guthrie, Kentucky. The investment of a 400,000 square foot facility will create some 125 jobs and will be capable of producing 200,000 tonnes a year. Start of production is scheduled for 2020.
“The increased adoption of aluminium in cars, trucks and SUVs, coupled with more automotive manufacturing plants in the southeast makes Guthrie a strategic location to serve our customers,” says Steve Fisher, president and CEO of Novelis. “With the strong, highly-skilled workforce in Kentucky, we believe our culture and commitment to building a sustainable world together will have a lasting and positive impact on this community.”
Novelis says that the decision to expand was reinforced by the positive impact of the tax reform in the United States. A favourable economic environment has enabled Novelis to recently finalize key contracts totalling approximately USD60 million for engineering plans, site preparation and state-of-the-art equipment for the greenfield facility. The facility will include heat treatment and pre-treatment lines, which prepare aluminium for use in vehicle parts such as body-in-white, hoods, doors, lift gates and fenders.
Paul Banks, a 25-year veteran of the aluminium rolling industry, will oversee the project as plant manager, having previously served as unit manager at Logan Aluminum, a Novelis joint venture in nearby Russellville, Kentucky.
Novelis brings to Guthrie a proud 34-year history of supporting jobs in Kentucky and investing in local communities. The company employs 1,260 people in the state, accounting for more than USD146 million in wages and benefits each year. In addition to Logan Aluminum, Novelis also operates an aluminium beverage can recycling plant in Berea, Kentucky.
The ground-breaking ceremony was accompanied by community members, federal, state and local officials. “Novelis’ investment in this new plant demonstrates the value of Kentucky’s community of highly-skilled, advanced manufacturing workers. This is just one of many benefits of tax reform that we are seeing,” said Congressman James Comer.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said: “These are the kinds of investments that are transforming Kentucky and transforming the industry. My vision for this state is simple, and that is, that we will be the centre for engineering and manufacturing excellence in the United States of America. If we can go all the way down the supply chain, not just to fabricate materials but to roll those materials, to smelt those materials, to slit those materials – whatever the case might be – to get those materials to market; these are the kinds of things that are going to transform the state. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Western Kentucky is primed for growth.”
According to Ducker Worldwide, automakers are expected to increase the adoption of high-strength, lightweight aluminium in new cars and trucks over the next decade. This investment will strengthen Novelis’ position as a market-leading manufacturer for automotive aluminium sheet.
The company continues to hire for key roles at the new facility to ensure an efficient and safe production ramp-up.