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ALABAMA
From Site Selection magazine, January 2013
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Supply Side

crop-AustalVessel


Mining operator Vale New Caledonia took delivery in June of a 41-meter (134-ft.) catamaran fast ferry, the Vale Grand Sud, designed to provide new levels of speed and comfort to members of the company’s 1,000-strong work force, as they commute between Noumea and the Goro mine site’s Prony Port. The vessel was built by Austal, which operates shipbuilding facilities in Henderson, Australia; Balambam, Philippines; and a defense shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The Mobile facility is in the midst of a 1,000-person expansion announced in August 2012 that when complete will bring employment in Mobile to 4,600.

Photo courtesy of Austal USA

New projects give new and
existing industry a boost.

by MARK AREND
S

uppliers to two of Alabama's key industries announced new operations in the state in December, including the first to supply Airbus' new A320 production plant in Mobile (see the Aerospace Report in the November 2011 issue). Labinal, through its subsidiary Safran Engineering Services, will operate an engineering support facility at the Brookley Aeroplex — the site of the Airbus plant.

Labinal is part of the French aerospace giant Safran Group and is a leading maker of electrical wiring systems for the aerospace and defense industries. Labinal is expected to hire 30 to 50 people for highly skilled engineering support services jobs at the Mobile office.

Many more suppliers are expected to announce operations in proximity to the Airbus plant in the weeks and months ahead. "Alabama is poised for tremendous growth in the aerospace sector," Governor Bentley said at the December 6th announcement. "Labinal joining us in Alabama shows how we are building on the state's momentum in the aerospace industry. I am confident this is the first of many announcements of new jobs from companies that will support Airbus."

Earlier this year, Governor Bentley and members of an Alabama delegation met with Labinal officials during a visit to the Farnborough International Airshow in England.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield was also at the announcement. He noted that Airbus locating its first U.S.-based production facility in Alabama is drawing worldwide attention to the state, much like the announcement of Mecedes-Benz in 1993.

"There is no doubt that Alabama will continue to attract many more top-notch companies such as Labinal," Secretary Canfield said. "Alabama is already a U.S. leader in automotive manufacturing, and the Airbus announcement puts the state in line to be located in the middle of the next aerospace power center."

New Roots for a German Company

More recently, automotive supplier RAPA (Rausch & Pausch LP) on December 18th announced plans to locate a U.S. headquarters and production facility in Auburn. Company officials anticipate creating 105 new jobs in Auburn over the next five years with $18 million in planned capital investment.

Construction of the facility in Auburn Technology Park West is already under way, with production scheduled to start in the fall of 2013.

Rausch & Pausch LP is a subsidiary of Rausch & Pausch GmbH, located in North Bavaria, Germany. It produces high-precision automobile parts, including solenoid valves and control blocks. Founded in the 1920s, the family-owned company is in its fourth generation of leadership by the Pausch family. RAPA will supply Chrysler as well as German transmission manufacturer ZF.

Mercedes-Benz plans to hire up to 1,000 new workers in 2013 as it prepares to start production of the C-Class sedan at its Tuscaloosa County plant in 2014. The facility, in Vance, already employs 3,000 in the production of M-Class and GL-Class SUVs. C-Class production is expected to result in new supplier projects and expansions as well.

"We are now an Auburn company," Chairman of the Board Horst Pausch, Sr., said of the Auburn location. "Over time, we want to build a company in Auburn that is independent from Germany, with its own research and development capabilities and its own set of North America-based customers."


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