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International Joint Venture Breaks Ground on Bowling Green Plant

Published Wednesday, July 2, 2014 9:30 am

Governor Beshear joined local, company and elected officials today to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Constellium-UACJ Body in White Plant in Bowling Green just two months after their initial site selection decision. The companies signed the international joint venture in May and announced their $150 million investment in an automotive aluminum sheet production facility in the Kentucky Transpark.

“What an exciting day for Bowling Green and all of Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “This huge investment will further solidify our role as a key player in the auto industry. I want to thank Constellium N.V. and UACJ Corporation for locating here, and I look forward to seeing the impact of this operation.”

"We are really thrilled to mark the official start of the Bowling Green plant’s construction today”, said Constellium’s CEO Pierre Vareille. “This project is highly strategic and it is the first milestone of an ambitious strategy to become a major player in the fast growing US aluminum body sheet market"

Constellium, a European aluminum company and UACJ, a Japanese aluminum company will supply an initial target capacity of 100,000 metric tons (approximately 220 million pounds) of cold-rolled aluminum coils, which will be treated and processed in Bowling Green.

“Today, we are very pleased to take the next step forward to the initiation of the Joint Venture with Constellium.  We are committed to deliver advanced products to our customers from mid-2016 onwards, utilizing the technologies each party has separately developed in EU and Japan,” commented Shigenori Yamauchi, Chairman of the Board & CEO, UACJ.

The company will continue their fast track with construction beginning on the facility in July, start of production in the first half of 2016 with full capacity reached by 2018. The Joint Venture will create 80 new jobs and the plant is being designed for future expansion beyond the initial target.

“The multinational project team has worked hard over the last year to go that far and it is great to see the alignment of both shareholders,” stated Pat Franc, President & CEO of Tri-Arrows Aluminum, a fully controlled subsidiary of UACJ.

“We were honored to be chosen as the site for this project,” stated Chamber Board Chairman John Mark Fones. “This is the largest investment in our region in more than a decade. But what is even more exciting is the companies’ dedication and eagerness to begin production. Their aggressive timeline for construction means more jobs for our region’s residents in a short amount of time. This is a company that is looking to succeed, but more importantly they are looking to grow. We couldn’t be happier to have them here in South Central Kentucky.”

The plant will produce finished aluminum body sheets for the North American automotive industry responding to the growing demand for aluminum in automotive manufacturing.

Consul-General of Japan Motohiko Kato, based in Nashville, was in attendance to celebrate the Joint Venture and the growth of the manufacturing sector in the region.

“Both regional and global competition is intense,” stated Consul-General Kato. “But there is no doubt that Kentucky lies at the heart of one of the world’s most important manufacturing regions.”

“Our corporate citizens are such an important part of the growth and development of our community,” stated Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “When we have a company that comes in ready to hit the ground running, we know that their dedication and investment will allow them to succeed here. The impact this joint venture will have on Bowling Green will be great and I believe there is no limit to the success they will find here. We appreciate their confidence in our community and look forward to working with them in the future.”

“It is truly an honor to be a part of this project that represents such a strong partnership among companies from around the world. The decision of this joint venture to bring their operations to Bowling Green attests to the attraction of our strategic location and skilled workforce. We have no doubt that they will be a perfect fit for the collaborative spirit and automotive hub here in Warren County. We congratulate them on this landmark in the process and look forward to their success here in South Central Kentucky,” stated Judge Executive Michael Buchanon.

Both the City of Bowling Green and Warren County were instrumental in helping to bring this project to South Central Kentucky, in addition to many other organizations throughout the Commonwealth. A thank you luncheon was held in May with more than 50 individuals in attendance to celebrate the collaborative efforts.

The finalization of the joint venture remains subject to regulatory approvals which are currently expected in the second half of 2014.

The initial announcement of the joint venture is among five total announcements for the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014 for a total capital investment of more than $187 million and the creation of over 330 jobs.