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The Right Place supports creation of nearly 1,000 jobs in West Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Regional economic development organization The Right Place, Inc., along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local partners, today announced a two West Michigan economic development projects that will bring nearly 1,000 new jobs and $169 million to the cities of Greenville and Walker, Michigan.





Dicastal North America, Inc.

$140 million capital investment in the City of Greenville; 300 new jobs projected over 4 years; $8.5 million incentive package

Dicastal North America is a new North American business entity created by Chinese-based CiTiC Dicastal Co. Ltd. to support the manufacture of aluminum wheels in the North American market. Employing 7,500 people, CiTiC Dicastal is a global leader of aluminum wheel manufacturing and known as the first to produce aluminum wheels in China. The company's North American customers include major automotive original equipment manufacturers.

The company plans to open a new aluminum alloy wheel manufacturing plant on the campus of the former Uni-Solar development (1 Solar Parkway Greenville, MI 48838) to produce 3 million wheels annually. Dicastal has purchased the 98-acre parcel and intends to make additional construction investments totaling approximately 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Signature Associates | Cushman & Wakefield (C &W) led the real estate transaction for the project. The Greenville location, which is expected to be operational in late 2015, will be the company's first physical presence in Michigan.

"The Right Place is well aware that the use of aluminum and other lightweight materials in automotive parts will continue to increase dramatically as federal policies and design innovation demand decreased automobile weight," said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. "This economic development project underlines the importance of having a strong international business development strategy for West Michigan and working with our partners at the MEDC and the City of Greenville."

The incentive package for Dicastal includes a mix of state and local support, including: Michigan Business Development Program grants, PA 198 Property Tax Abatements, Community Development Block Grants, and other various energy incentives.

"The City of Greenville is delighted to announce this project along with our new partners The Right Place," said George Bosanic, Greenville City Manager. "We've always known that the Uni-Solar site is an ideal location for some company, and that we have skilled workers, so we believe we've found a solid match in Dicastal. This project is a great example of local, regional and state economic development agencies working together to recruit on a global level."

Plasan Carbon Composites, Inc.

$29 million capital investment in the City of Walker; Up to 620 new jobs projected over 3 years; $6 million incentive package

Plasan Carbon Composites, Inc. is an automotive tier one manufacturer and leading supplier of carbon fiber parts and assemblies to mid-volume production vehicles. Plasan currently maintains facilities in Walker and Wixom, Michigan. Plasan was established in 2006 when Plasan SASA, Ltd, a private Israeli company, purchased the automotive division from Vermont Composites and began its vehicle parts manufacturing in Vermont.

In 2011, The Right Place worked to attract the company to West Michigan and establish its carbon fiber manufacturing facility in Walker, Michigan. In 2013 Plasan moved its official headquarters from Bennington, Vermont to Wixom, and in 2014, the company ceased manufacturing operations in its Bennington facility and started relocating people, capital, and production capabilities to its Walker location, 3195 Wilson Avenue.

The company is widely known to be the leader in developing processes to mass produce lightweight carbon fiber parts and assemblies for such vehicles as the Corvette Stingray, Viper SRT and the Shelby Mustang GT500KR.

The 197,000 SF Walker facility, which currently employs 350 people, can produce parts to accommodate 30,000 to 50,000 vehicles, but after consolidating it's facilities it is reaching capacity quickly, causing the company to invest in additional infrastructure and renovations to expand production capability. Current industry trends in the reduction of overall vehicle weight are part of the driving factor in Plasan's growth.

"Plasan's investment and expansion in West Michigan further demonstrates our region's unique expertise in manufacturing innovation," said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO, The Right Place, Inc. "When you combine West Michigan's commercial design talent with innovative manufacturing materials, like carbon fiber, the options are limitless for companies like Plasan."

It is expected that nearly 530 of the new jobs will be semi-skilled operator jobs and the remaining 90 will be office and management-related positions.
The incentive package for Plasan comes in the form of a Michigan Business Development Program performance based grant, including local support from the City of Walker.

"Our experience in launching the new facility in West Michigan has been great and made easy the decision of how/where to expand with our next phase of growth," said Jim Staargaard, President, Plasan Carbon Composites.

"Job announcements like these are why we and over 200 other area businesses invest in and support The Right Place," said Michelle Van Dyke, President, Fifth Third Mortgage Company. "The jobs and companies The Right Place is bringing to West Michigan are positioning our region as a global destination for business success."

About The Right Place, Inc.

The Right Place, Inc. is a regional non-profit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. For more information visit: www.rightplace.org

About CiTiC Dicastal

CiTiC Dicastal Wheel Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as CiTiC Dicastal), a globally leading manufacturer of aluminum wheels, was established in 1988 by CiTiC Group. It was the first aluminum alloy wheel manufacturer in Chinese mainland. After 23 years of development, it has become the world's leading manufacturer of aluminum wheels and one of the most prosperous manufacturers in CiTiC Group. Looking back on 23 years of development, CiTiC Dicastal has always been in the lead position in aluminum alloy manufacturing, and has achieved several times of self-transcendence. From 2008 to 2010, the sales of aluminum wheels were ranked first in the world. In 2011, we will achieve a much higher goal to prove our growing strength of CiTiC Dicastal.

About Plasan Carbon Composites

Dedicated to automotive carbon fiber, Plasan Carbon Composites is the leading Tier 1 supplier of carbon fiber parts and assemblies in the United States. We specialize in the production of Class A and structural parts for mid-volume production cars. www.plasancarbon.com.

CONTACT: Right Place: Tim Mroz (616) 881.1038 mrozt@rightplace.org Right Place: Craig Clark (616) 550.2736 craig@clarkcommunication.com Dicastal: Dale Hadel (248) 276.1020 dhadel@sales-mail.com Greenville: George Bosanic (616) 754-5645 gbosanic@greenvillemi.org Plasan: Jim Staargaard (248) 924-3805 james.staargaard@plasancarbon.com

Source:The Right Place, Inc.