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Rolls-Royce lays out plan to spend $600M on Indy operations

October 5, 2015

Rolls-Royce Corp. is planning a wide-scale modernization of its Tibbs Avenue jet-engine plant in Indianapolis that would be part of an overall plan to invest nearly $600 million in its local operations over five years.

State, city and Rolls-Royce officials announced the plan during a press conference Monday morning.

The $600 million in total upgrades is expected to reduce costs for Rolls by replacing outdated infrastructure and equipment, which in some cases date back to World War II. The work will include a major renovation of the existing Plant 8 at Tibbs Avenue and Raymond Street and installation of new equipment. The work is expected to begin immediately.

“Our new facility will be a state-of-the-art manufacturing center that combines modern production systems and machinery with a highly skilled workforce,” said Marion Blakey, president and chief executive officer of Rolls-Royce North America. “This investment ensures that we can increase our competitiveness in the market, which will benefit both our customers and Rolls-Royce.”

IBJ reported this spring that the company was in negotiations with city and state officials on incentives for a modernization of its Tibbs Avenue factory. Rolls-Royce employs about 1,050 union-represented workers at the plant, which was built fior World War II and is the company’s oldest and largest North American factory.

Company officials first publicly discussed the modernization plan at an IBJ aerospace and aviation breakfast April 21, though they would say little beyond that the project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The plant produces engines and engine parts for small passenger jets and a variety of military aircraft, from cargo planes to the Global Hawk Surveillance craft. Rolls-Royce also operates an advanced aerospace technology research and design unit in Indianapolis, which is known as LibertyWorks.

Rolls-Royce employs 4,000 people in Indianapolis, with 1,050 working in production and nearly 1,400 engineers. 

IBJ reported in May that Rolls-Royce's planned investment was not expected to create jobs, but that the General Assembly this spring tweaked a law so that the project would nonetheless qualify for $17 million in state incentives.

On Monday, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said that it has offered up to $17 million in tax credits and up to $1.42 million in training grants based on the company’s planned investment.

Rolls-Royce officials said that the firm would receive a total of about $35 million in state and city incentives, including an agreement with city officials to amend an existing real estate and personal property tax abatement.

This story will be updated.
 

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