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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. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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