Gov. Beshear, Novelis Celebrate Opening of Guthrie Automotive Aluminum Finishing Plant
GUTHRIE, KY (STL.News) Companies continue to move forward with major job-creation projects across the commonwealth, and today, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local, state and federal officials along with leaders from Novelis for the grand opening of the company’s $300 million-plus automotive aluminum finishing operation, which employs over 150 people including 100 Kentuckians.
“It is incredible to see Novelis’ continued growth in our state. This company has been a quality employer in Kentucky for decades, and the opening of this new facility in Guthrie highlights its leaders’ faith in the commonwealth and our stellar workforce,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is yet another example of the strength of Kentucky’s automotive sector, which is better positioned than ever to create great jobs for our residents well into the future.”
Today, Novelis unveiled its new 400,000-square-foot facility on a 150-acre greenfield site on Old Railroad Lane in Guthrie. The location heat treats and pre-heats rolled aluminum coils used to manufacture automotive body panel-grade aluminum sheets. Today’s celebration signifies completion of the project, which was originally announced in May 2018 and represents Novelis’ second wholly owned Kentucky facility.
The operation joins a 130-employee beverage can recycling facility in Berea established in 1989, which melts and casts ingots from 20% of the nation’s recycled beverage cans. In early 2017, Novelis announced a $2.35 million investment and 10 new jobs for that plant to expand its capacity by 25,000 tons annually.
In addition to its two wholly owned Kentucky facilities, Novelis, along with Tri-Arrows Aluminum Inc., jointly owns Logan Aluminum, which employs 1,400 people in Logan County. Logan Aluminum’s proximity to the new Guthrie operation was a significant factor in the company’s site selection process.
“Novelis is proud to call Guthrie our newest home,” said Tom Lilienthal, Guthrie plant manager. “We look forward to shaping a sustainable world together with our valued customers and partners in this wonderful community.”
Headquartered in Atlanta, Novelis is a global recycler and producer of aluminum, operating 33 advanced rolling and recycling facilities in nine countries across North and South America, Europe and Asia. The company employs approximately 14,650 people globally. In addition to the automotive industry – where more than 225 vehicle models use Novelis’ aluminum alloy – customers use the company’s products to manufacture a variety of products including beverage cans, airplanes, computers, mobile phones, flexible tubing, insulating sleeves, license plates and architectural products, such as roller shutters, awnings, roofing, gutters, facades and sandwich panels.
Novelis’ newly opened facility adds to the state’s 230-plus metals-related operations, which employ approximately 25,000 Kentuckians. In 2021 alone, Kentucky’s metals industry has spurred approximately $960 million in planned investment and more than 1,600 expected new jobs for Kentucky residents.
Todd County Judge/Executive Todd Mansfield noted the significance of the company’s investment.
“Todd County is proud to celebrate Novelis Guthrie’s grand opening with Novelis corporate leaders and local, regional and state leadership. This grand opening is an exciting and historic day in Todd County as we celebrate the single largest economic development project in Todd County’s history,” Judge/Executive Mansfield said. “On behalf of the Todd County Fiscal Court, I would like to thank Novelis, Gov. Andy Beshear, the Cabinet for Economic Development, Tennessee Valley Authority, and our outstanding local and regional partners for their support and leadership ensuring Novelis chose Todd County and South Western Kentucky.”
Guthrie Mayor Jimmy Covington said the new facility is well positioned for long-term success.
“The City of Guthrie is excited to celebrate the official grand opening of Novelis Guthrie. Our community is uniquely positioned to help the growing needs of Novelis while taking advantage of our region’s geographic proximity to several major markets and automakers,” Mayor Covington said. “We have enjoyed developing a strong working relationship with the company and its local leadership and look forward to supporting their continued growth for decades to come. I wish the company the best of luck as they celebrate their grand opening in our community.”
Todd County Industrial Foundation President John Walton said the company is already making a positive impact in the community.
“The Todd County Industrial Foundation is thrilled to work with and support such an awesome company as Novelis. We see their investment as paving the way and shining an even brighter light for the future of Todd County and South Western Kentucky,” Walton said. “Additionally, we are so impressed with Novelis Guthrie as they’ve already proven to be an outstanding community partner supporting programs like Main Street and Todd County schools. The Todd County Industrial Foundation looks forward to supporting Novelis and encouraging their future growth in our region for generations to come.”
The opening of the Novelis operation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger in response to the effects of the pandemic.
This year, the commonwealth has shattered every economic development record in the books for yearly investment totals. Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include over $8.85 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create 12,500 full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage is $24.15 before benefits, a 10% increase over the previous year.
In September, Gov. Beshear, Ford Motor Co. Executive Chair Bill Ford, CEO Jim Farley and Dong-Seob Jee, president of SK Innovation’s battery business, announced the single largest economic development project in the history of the commonwealth, celebrating a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs and places Kentucky at the forefront of the automotive industry’s future.
In July, 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.
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.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the state and Novelis previously reached performance-based tax incentive agreements based on the company’s investment, job and wage targets.
Novelis also can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.