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UPDATE: Manufacturer plans $110M expansion, 329 jobs

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Gov. Mike Pence is traveling to northern Indiana for what his office calls an economic development announcement involving hundreds of jobs.

The announcement involves the Alcoa Howmet factory in LaPorte, which makes castings for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries in a plant about 150 miles north of Indianapolis. Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Bert Cook told The Times of Munster that the announcement involves a previously reported expansion plan by the company.

Cook said the investment is expected to result in 329 new jobs and $23 million in additional payroll.

The LaPorte City Council in February approved a 10-year tax abatement for Alcoa Howmet, which had plans to invest $110 million into its 200,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

Company officials said the plant would make nickel-based engine parts for commercial airliners. Alcoa already makes the same components — in smaller sizes — for engines that go on business jets and planes flown by regional airlines.

Boeing and Airbus are stepping up production as airlines order new, more fuel-efficient planes. Asian airlines in particular are expected to grow rapidly as a booming middle class yearns to travel.

"This is a massive growth market, more than 8 years of backlog," CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said. Alcoa expects aluminum demand from aerospace companies to rise 9 percent this year.

Airlines have long gone through a boom-and-bust cycle, but Kleinfeld said he wasn't worried about that. He said smarter management and Asia's changing demographics will help the airlines.

The Indiana plant will make parts that form the rib cage around a jet engine's vital parts, so its customers are likely to be the big engine manufacturers such as GE and Rolls Royce. Alcoa wouldn't disclose customers, but said it has enough long-term contracts to support the facility, which is due to be completed late next year.

Alcoa said it could get up to $4 million in state tax credits for job creation and another $7.1 million in city tax incentives over 10 years.

The plant is part of Alcoa Inc.'s strategy to downplay its roots as a mining and aluminum-smelting company. Aluminum prices haven't recovered from the deep recession in 2008, and Alcoa has been idling smelters to reduce capacity and cut costs.

The company has been increasing its focus on producing finished aluminum products for aerospace, autos and other industries. Those segments account for more than half of the company's revenue and three-quarters of its after-tax operating income.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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