Investment will increase production of aluminum for the automotive market
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 28, 2022) – Kentucky companies continue to implement innovative technology and increase production to better serve the evolving automotive market as today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Hydro Aluminum Metals USA LLC, a producer of recycled aluminum products, will invest $15 million and retain up to 56 full-time employees at its Henderson plant.
“Henderson is on a roll, and Hydro’s investment is just the latest in a series of exciting announcements bringing quality jobs and new opportunities for families in this community,” said Gov. Beshear. “From the I-69 Ohio River Crossing to landing the largest economic development project in Western Kentucky in 25 years, this is an exciting time for Henderson and the entire region. I want to thank Hydro’s leadership for their continued investment in Kentucky and our workforce, and I look forward to seeing the company’s continued success for years to come.”
Hydro’s investment will support two projects simultaneously, including the installation of a new homogenization furnace to improve the facility’s ability to meet specifications within the growing U.S. automotive market. This will allow increased production of advanced alloys using recycled metals with a lower carbon footprint.
The investment also will support a new baghouse – a state-of-the-art dust and gas collector to reduce air emissions – which will boost post-consumer scrap volume and allow Hydro to recycle a broader range of materials. The new baghouse also will improve the air quality inside the plant and reduce the overall environmental footprint from operations. Work on both projects is expected to begin in August and be completed by September 2024.
“At Hydro we want to accelerate the green transformation of the aluminum and automotive industries by increasing our use of post-consumer scrap to pull more used material into the value chain and promote a circular economy, while also delivering our automotive customers advanced, high-strength alloys,” said Trond Gjellesvik, vice president of Hydro. “As carmakers continue to make metal substitution decisions, particularly for electric vehicles, our investments allow us to support our forward-leaning customers in reaching their climate ambitions.”
Seth Augustine, plant manager at the Henderson facility, noted the company’s history of success operating in Henderson County.
“The first Hydro aluminum recycling plant built in the United States is here in Henderson, where we are pleased to have provided good career opportunities while supporting aluminum recycling throughout the Midwest now for nearly 25 years,” Augustine said. “With these new investments, we look forward to doing so for the next 25 years and being a growing part of the expanding Kentucky automotive industry.”
Hydro’s investment supports production of recycled, low-carbon aluminum, including Hydro CIRCAL, the company’s proprietary advanced material. Hydro CIRCAL is made with a minimum of 75% recycled, post-consumer aluminum scrap. Once in full production, Hydro’s Henderson facility will produce 2,000 to 4,000 tons of Hydro CIRCAL products annually.
Since 1905, Hydro has converted natural resources into valuable products for customers across a range of industries. Currently, Hydro employs 31,000 people at more than 140 locations in 40 countries. The company has produced aluminum in North America since 1993 and employs more than 6,000 people within two business units, Hydro Aluminum Metals and Hydro Extrusions.
Currently, more than 230 metals-related facilities operate in Kentucky, which employ approximately 25,000 state residents. Last year, Kentucky’s metals industry spurred $920 million in planned investment and roughly 1,600 announced full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
State Sen. Robby Mills wished the company well as its leaders invest in the Henderson operation.
“The investment Hydro Aluminum is making in Henderson is great news and speaks volumes for our workforce in Northwest Kentucky,” Sen. Mills said. “Corporate citizens like Hydro do not invest the sums of money this announcement represents unless they are happy with their current business situation. I am thankful for Hydro and wish them and their Henderson team much success in the future!”
State Rep. Jonathan Dixon said the company has been a great member of the community.
“Hydro Aluminum has provided individuals with good-paying careers in Henderson. They have continuously improved its facility with a focus on clean initiatives while maintaining a high-quality product,” Rep. Dixon said. “It’s great to have a company like Hydro Aluminum that invests and cares about our community.”
Henderson County Judge/Executive Brad Schneider looks forward to continuing the partnership with Hydro.
“On behalf of Henderson County Fiscal Court, I offer our thanks and gratitude to leadership at Hydro Aluminum for this investment in the facility here,” Judge Schneider said. “Hydro has become an established, well-regarded member of Henderson County’s industrial community and we believe and hope this update of the plant means Hydro will remain a corporate citizen in our county for decades to come.”
Whitney Risley, director of existing industries and workforce development at Henderson Economic Development, expressed gratitude for the company’s commitment.
“Henderson Economic Development is proud to highlight Hydro Aluminum’s investment at the Henderson facility. This investment is beneficial for the competitive product market for the automotive industry and the commitment to the community with a focus on clean initiatives,” Risley said. “We appreciate the forward thinking of Hydro Aluminum. It is encouraging to see the continued growth in our existing industries.”
Hydro’s planned investment and job retention furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the past year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
Kentucky has posted new record low unemployment rates for three consecutive months, falling from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May and 3.7% in June.
In July, the Governor reported the highest annual growth rate in 31 years. And for the second year in a row, Kentucky’s General Fund budget surplus has exceeded $1 billion. Also in July, Gov. Beshear reported that the state’s Rainy Day fund is up to a record balance of $2.7 billion, significantly higher than the $129 million balance the fund had when the Governor took office.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) today preliminarily approved the company for up to $1 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act (KRA) based on the company’s investment of at least $8.8 million and retention of up to 56 full-time jobs at an average hourly wage of $49.80, excluding benefits. KRA is designed to help companies make significant capital investments to become more competitive, retain employment and increase productivity and efficiency.
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 assessments.
For more information on Hydro Aluminum, visit Hydro.com.
A detailed community profile for Henderson 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.