FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2021) – Kentucky’s economic momentum continues as today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Commonwealth Rolled Products Inc. will invest more than $167 million in its Lewisport aluminum rolling mill, a project that will create 40 full-time jobs in the years ahead.
“The aluminum rolling mill in Lewisport has been an important part of the Hancock County community for over 50 years, and the decision by Commonwealth Rolled Products to build on that existing presence is tremendous news for the workforce throughout the region,” Gov. Beshear said. “Once this expansion is complete, the company will employ more than 900 Kentucky residents, and I am confident that growth will continue well into the future. Thank you to the leaders at Commonwealth for continuing to grow their business in our state.”
The company’s commitment in its 2.3 million-square-foot facility on Kentucky Highway 1957 will include investment in new equipment and building upgrades to modernize the operation and better position commonwealth to support automotive and industrial customers. New jobs associated with the project will include production, technical and leadership roles. Currently, the company maintains over 1,000 full-time employees in Hancock County, including 875 Kentucky residents. Leaders at Commonwealth expect work on the project to begin in early 2022 and be completed by early 2024.
“This is an exciting time for the company, our customers, employees and the local community,” said Commonwealth CEO Mike Keown. “The investment will allow us to complete the over $750 million investment program we started in 2015 to make the Lewisport facility the most modern and cost competitive automotive and common alloy sheet plant in the United States. I want to thank our owners, American Industrial Partners, the State of Kentucky and Hancock County for their support.”
Commonwealth Rolled Products was established in December 2020 following the acquisition of the Lewisport facility by American Industrial Partners. The aluminum rolling mill, which most recently operated as Aleris Corp., was established in Lewisport in 1966 as Harvey Aluminum. The facility produces high-quality aluminum rolled products for the automotive and industrial markets.
Commonwealth’s investment builds on the state’s existing 230-plus metals-related operations, which employ approximately 25,000 Kentuckians. In 2021, Kentucky’s metals industry has spurred over $1.1 billion in planned investment and more than 1,700 planned new jobs for Kentucky residents.
Hancock County Judge/Executive Johnny Roberts Jr., said the company is an integral part of the community.
“We are very thankful for this impactful announcement. Commonwealth Rolled Products has been a vital part of our community for many years,” Judge/Executive Roberts said. “The scope of this project validates the company’s confidence in the local workforce and helps to ensure a stronger future for Hancock County.”
Mike Baker, director of the Hancock County Industrial Foundation, expressed gratitude for the company’s commitment to the region and the local workforce.
“This significant investment is a testament to the value of the Lewisport facility, its employees and customers,” Baker said. “The Lewisport plant has been a valued member of our community for over 50 years and this investment can ensure another 50 years! We are grateful and excited Commonwealth Rolled Products continues to invest in Hancock County.”
Commonwealth’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in Kentucky, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
This year, the commonwealth has shattered every economic development record in the books. Year-to-date, private-sector new-location and expansion announcements include a record $11 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 17,000 full-time jobs across the coming years. Through September, Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide 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 Kentucky’s history, 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 Kentucky ended the 2021 fiscal year with a general fund surplus of over $1.1 billion – the highest ever in the state – 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 state’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. Kentucky also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million. Site Selection also 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) earlier this month preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1.5 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $167.25 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 40 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $38 including benefits across those jobs.
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, Commonwealth 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.
For more information on Commonwealth Rolled Products, visit CommonwealthRolledProducts.com.
A detailed community profile for Hancock County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.