A South Korean automobile parts manufacturer plans to hire 23 additional employees over the next year after a $16.5 million expansion at its Phenix City plant.
Phenix City Council voted Tuesday night to give ILJIN Alabama Corp. tax abatements and up to $150,000 in incentives for the expansion of its Phenix Industrial Park facility, which opened in 2010.
The company, which manufactures wheel bearings for companies such as Kia, Hyundai, Chrysler and General Motors, currently employs 62 people in its Phenix City operation.
Council met with company executives Monday afternoon in a closed session to discuss an "economic development" matter. Council then voted 5-0 Tuesday at its scheduled meeting to approve the tax breaks and the $150,000 incentive that ILJIN Alabama will use to clear and prepare the expansion site, which is next to its existing building at 14 Downing Drive.
Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe said the decision to give the tax breaks and cash incentive makes "good business sense."
"What we are doing is creating jobs," he said. "They are a good partner, and we want to do things right."
The expansion is expected to be complete in spring 2015.
"When they hire the employees and everything is in place, we will reimburse ILJIN Alabama up to $150,000 for the clearing and grading," said Phenix City Economic Development Manager Shawn Culligan. "If it is less than $150,000, then the reimbursement will be less."
Phenix City is working with the state of Alabama to secure grants that could offset some of the $150,000 promised to ILJIN Alabama, Culligan said.
The tax abatements are a little more complicated than the incentive payment. The tax breaks do not include taxes designated for education.
ILJIN Alabama will receive breaks on sales and use taxes on construction materials and equipment toward the building. The company will also pay no property tax on the building or equipment for 10 years.
"These are the standard abatements any company hiring new employees in Alabama would receive," Culligan said.
Councilman Chris Blackshear said the fact that ILJIN Alabama is a high-tech company that has been a good corporate citizen of Phenix City makes a difference.
"If you are willing to invest in us, we are willing to invest back in you," Blackshear said. "This could grow to 100 or 150 jobs as they continue to expand. I know they are looking down the road to do more."