Auto supplier Kamtek will invest $530 million in an expansion of its Birmingham, AL operations. The expansion project will add 354 jobs to Kamtek’s current Alabama workforce of more than 900. Kamtek, whose parent company is Canada-based Magna International, primarily produces stamped parts for Mercedes-Benz and other automakers at its Jefferson County facility.
As part of the expansion, Kamtek will invest $80 million in a new, 148,00-square-foot aluminum casting facility and $450 million to expand its existing operation in Birmingham’s Valley East Industrial Park.
“Kamtek’s manufacturing operation in Alabama has grown through several expansions over the years, and I am honored that the company has picked Birmingham for another major investment,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “Not only will this project create 350 new jobs, but it also shows that Alabama remains very attractive to manufacturers and suppliers in the auto industry that are looking for the right place to expand. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Kamtek.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Kamtek’s expansion is “one of the largest and most significant by an auto supplier in Alabama.”
Mayor William Bell said Kamtek’s expansion demonstrates that Birmingham — flanked by the Mercedes and Honda assembly plants and home to several major suppliers — is a “major player” in the auto sector.
Kamtek General Manager John Hackett said the new aluminum casting facility and the expansion of the company’s existing plant “demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our customers,” which include Mercedes, Volkswagen and other automakers. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the local government in creating jobs and positioning ourselves for future business.”
Kamtek’s current operation in Jefferson County represents investment approaching $473 million, said Frank Ervin, director of government affairs for Magna International. Kamtek acquired Ogihara, which opened the facility, in 2008 and has re-invested heavily in the operation over the years. It now plans to expand its existing facility by 201,000 square feet.
Teamwork among economic development organizations and government agencies helped make the Kamtek expansion possible. The Alabama Department of Commerce, the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), Birmingham’s economic development office, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Alabama Power Co. and others joined forces on the project.
“The expansion of Kamtek is yet another sign that the Birmingham region is a great place for advanced manufacturing facilities to locate and grow,” said Mark Crosswhite, chairman, president and CEO of Alabama Power and chairman of the BBA.
“Our city and our region are drawing companies from across the globe because of our superior workforce, excellent infrastructure, competitive costs, quality of life, and the outstanding level of support and cooperation we offer to business and industry,” he added.
Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), a division of Commerce that acts as the state’s job-training agency, was also involved in the project.