Frankfort, KY (STL.News) Martinrea Hopkinsville LLC, a Tier 1 automotive supplier of lightweight structures and propulsion systems, will expand its presence in Christian County with an investment of more than $31 million that will create 33 quality job opportunities, Gov. Andy Beshear announced today.
“Kentucky’s automotive industry continues to grow and evolve, and that is also the case for Martinrea Hopkinsville, which is creating more than two dozen great jobs for residents in Southwestern Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said. “This project positions the company to better serve traditional automotive manufacturers, as well as the burgeoning electric-vehicle market. I want to thank Martinrea’s leaders for bringing this expansion to the commonwealth and look forward to watching the company continue to grow.”
Martinrea leaders plan to expand the more than 400,000-square-foot facility in Hopkinsville’s Commerce Industrial Park by 38,500 square feet to support its growing business with added production of lightweight, high-strength structural steel products for internal combustion engine and battery electric vehicles. The facility produces front and rear suspension subframes, transmission cross-members, upper control arms, lower control arm rockers, plenums and body-in-white parts for automakers such as Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW and Nissan.
“We are proud to have built a strong partnership with the state of Kentucky and the local community to create opportunities for our employees and continue to build the automotive market in Hopkinsville,” said Pat D’Eramo, president and CEO of Martinrea International. “We are excited to have chosen Christian County as our home to expand operations, build quality products and increase services for our customers.”
Martinrea Hopkinsville is a subsidiary of Canada-based Martinrea International Inc., which was founded in 2001 and operates in 10 countries with 57 locations across four business units. The Hopkinsville facility has produced automotive parts since 1999 and has been operated by Martinrea since 2006.
More than 525 automotive suppliers and four automotive assembly plants currently operate in the commonwealth, employing over 100,000 Kentucky residents. Since 2020, auto-related companies in Kentucky announced over 40 new-location and expansion projects expected to create 2,000-plus full-time jobs with over $500 million in announced investment.
Martinrea is among the 38 Canadian-owned facilities currently operating in Kentucky. Since the start of 2020, Canada-based companies announced projects creating over 400 full-time jobs in Kentucky with over $280 million in new investment.
Christian County Judge/Executive Steve Tribble said the region is a great place to do business, as evidenced by Martinrea’s growth.
“Christian County Fiscal Court is always eager to help an existing industry with a need or opportunity,” Judge/Executive Tribble said. “Martinrea’s expansion of 33 jobs and over $30 million in capital investment is cause for celebration as our region continues to demonstrate that we are an awesome region to grow your business and take advantage of our outstanding location, quality of life and low taxes. As one of our valued international companies, we don’t take their investment for granted and will do all we can to support Martinrea’s continued success in our community.”
Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch said the company is the type of employer the community strives to attract.
“Martinrea’s expansion is welcome news for our growing economy,” Mayor Lynch said. “Martinrea is an exemplary corporate partner, and its expansion represents the company’s ongoing commitment to the region and our residents. We are thankful to have the opportunity to support the company’s growth in Hopkinsville. We have no doubt that they’ll continue to succeed with our young, diverse and growing workforce.”
Carter Hendricks, executive director of the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council, said the expansion required a team effort at the state and local level.
“This project represents a true partnership as our local leaders worked closely with Martinrea-Hopkinsville plant manager Brad Graves, the Cabinet for Economic Development, TVA and our local utility partners to earn the business for our region,” Hendricks said. “Thanks to Brad and his team, the SWK region will reap the benefits of this expansion as well as Martinrea’s continued commitment to the community. Equally important, this announcement marks the fourth new or existing industry expansion announcement in the last 10 months for Hopkinsville and Christian County, validating the region’s reputation as a great place to grow a business.”
John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), welcomed the company’s continued growth in Western Kentucky.
“TVA and Pennyrile RECC congratulate Martinrea Hopkinsville LLC on its decision to expand operations in Christian County,” Bradley said. “We are proud to partner with the South Western Kentucky Economic Development Council and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to support companies like Martinrea continue to grow and create new job opportunities in the Valley, and celebrate this announcement together.”
Martinrea’s investment and planned job creation furthers 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 $2.65 billion in total planned investment and the creation of 5,800-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.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $750,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $31.17 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 33 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $28 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Martinrea for up to $100,000 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, Martinrea 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.