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IEDC leads European trade mission

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Officials from five of Indiana’s largest economic development organizations, Rolls-Royce North America and Duke Energy are traveling to Europe next week on a job- and investment-attraction mission.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is leading the delegation, which will visit Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom from April 17 to May 1.

Their first stop will be the four-day Hannover Messe Trade Show, a global exhibition focused on renewable and conventional power generation, transmission and distribution. After that, the group will move on to Italy for several days of business meetings.

The trip will conclude in England, where meetings will concentrate on the defense, aerospace, biotech and electric vehicle industries. Retired Rolls-Royce North America executive S. Michael Hudson will be the keynote speaker at a U.S. and Indiana Aerospace and Defense seminar co-sponsored by the West of England Aerospace Forum, Bristol International and United Kingdom Trade & Investment.

According to IEDC, Germany has $3.5 billion in total capital investments in Indiana, while the United Kingdom has total investments here worth $11.3 billion. This is IEDC’s fourth European trade mission since 2005.

Reached on the road via cell phone Thursday morning, IEDC spokeswoman Blair West couldn’t immediately quantify the number of new jobs or total new business capital investments the IEDC’s previous European trips have yielded for Indiana.

Instead, she pointed to a recent example: Schott North America’s Oct. 20 announcement of plans to add 150 jobs in Vincennes. Schott, which already made glass-ceramic cooktops for home appliances at its Vincennes facility, said it plans to invest $7.2 million there after winning a defense industry contract to fabricate transparent armor. Schott's armored windows were selected for a new line of mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles designed for the rugged mountains of Afghanistan.

IEDC awarded SCHOTT a package of incentives including up to $2.3 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants.

West said the German company's Indiana expansion came as a direct result of Gov. Mitch Daniels' 2007 European trade mission. She said it was one of several deals that can be directly traced to that trip.

Other economic development groups sending representatives on the upcoming mission include Indianapolis Economic Development Inc., Indy Partnership, Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and the Columbus Indiana Economic Development Board.

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