BILSTEIN Breaks Ground on Nearly $18 Million Expansion of Bowling Green Operation
FRANKFORT, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated German-owned steel processor BILSTEIN GROUP, as company leaders broke ground on a $17.8 million investment at its BILSTEIN COLD ROLLED STEEL LP campus in Bowling Green, a project that positions the location for future investment and job growth.
“BILSTEIN has been a great corporate partner to Warren County and the commonwealth since it opened four years ago, and I am thrilled to see the company finding success in our state,” Gov. Beshear said. “This investment not only will help the company meet its job growth targets, but also creates a foundation for possible further expansion in the coming years. I look forward to seeing BILSTEIN grow with Kentucky as we strive to build an economy that works for all of our residents.”
BILSTEIN’s investment will allow for the construction of a new 8,500-square-foot facility in the Kentucky Transpark in addition to its existing 105,000-square-foot operation, to better serve the North American market. The project will feature the installation of new equipment, including batch annealing furnaces, and upgrades to existing equipment to increase production capacity of high-performance, cold-rolled steel strips.
The project also will help encourage job growth, boosting BILSTEIN’s expected employment to 120 full-time jobs, exceeding the projected jobs number of 110 originally announced by the company in 2015. Opened in 2017, the existing facility currently employs 86 people – including 82 Kentuckians – in Bowling Green. Company leaders expect the expansion to be fully operational by the second half of 2022.
“Today, we celebrate a major milestone in BILSTEIN’s success story in the U.S. We are very proud to be part of this community and, most fundamentally, of our team delivering and outperforming our company goals and therefore allowing us to add this physical expansion to our plant,” said Brent Wilson, president and CEO of BILSTEIN COLD ROLLED STEEL LP. “This will be the foundation to continue on our current growth path and add more highly qualified jobs to the region. Our plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is BILSTEIN’s first footprint on the North American continent. Looking at the increasing demand in our superior quality products, serving high-precision applications in key industry segments including electrical vehicle systems, we are very positive that our growth story does not stop here.”
BILSTEIN, founded in 1911 in Hagen, Germany, produces highly specialized steel products for the automotive sector and other industries. The company has produced cold-rolled steel for the North American market for more than 25 years and processes 62,000 different products supplied to 170 countries. BILSTEIN operates 21 international subsidiaries, employing more than 2,100 people worldwide.
BILSTEIN is among nearly 80 German-owned facilities operating in Kentucky, which employ about 14,000 people across the state.
The investment furthers Kentucky’s metals growth in 2021, as the industry has created over 1,500 jobs through nearly $900 million in investments so far this year. Currently, Kentucky is home to 230 metals-related facilities that employ around 25,000 Kentuckians.
BILSTEIN’s investment and planned job creation adds to recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last month, thanks to strong fiscal management by the Beshear administration, the state budget office reported the commonwealth ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the commonwealth – and a 10.9% increase in general fund receipts to $12.8 billion.
Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include $2.6 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 5,500-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Through July, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $23.47 before benefits, a 6.2% increase over the previous year.
In May, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings in May improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also recently placed Kentucky in a tie for fifth in its 2021 Prosperity Cup rankings, positioning the state among the national leaders for business climate.
Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon said the expansion reflects the region’s ability to support growing businesses.
“South Central Kentucky offers a multitude of opportunities for businesses to expand.” Judge/Executive Buchanon said. “BILSTEIN COLD ROLLED STEEL has made a major commitment to this area before, and we are excited about this latest announcement and the benefits it will bring to the area.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott congratulated the company on its latest investment.
“We celebrate with BILSTEIN COLD ROLLED STEEL on this new facility expansion,” Mayor Alcott said. “Their global footprint is seen right here in Bowling Green; we are proud to have them here and are excited for their continued investment and growth.”
Ron Bunch, president and CEO of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, said the project continues recent economic growth in the city.
“It’s very exciting to continue to see companies thrive all across our community,” Bunch said. “Warren County is a great place to do business and BILSTEIN COLD ROLLED STEEL is one more shining example of our strong business community.”
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April approved BILSTEIN for up to $200,000 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.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, BILSTEIN 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.