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Published: Tuesday, 10/26/2010

GM to keep 1,300 jobs at foundry in Defiance

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

General Motors Co. received a state tax credit Monday that will let the company retain more than 1,300 full-time employees at its Defiance Foundry.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 10-year, 50 percent tax credit worth $14 million that enables GM to keep its $74.8 million in annual payroll at the plant. The company is required to maintain operations in Defiance through 2023 in exchange for the credit.

GM expects to spend $177 million to expand the facility for new engine assembly operations.

Mark Barbash, chief economic development officer with the state development department, said the tax credit played a critical role in GM's decision to keep jobs in Ohio rather than move to Michigan or Indiana.

"That's going to be important in the long term to have the kind of flexibility they need," Mr. Barbash said of the Defiance plant's role in GM's product development.

Calls to GM spokesmen were not returned Monday.

The automaker was one of several businesses receiving state funding Monday to support or expand operations in northwest Ohio.

The tax credit authority approved a five-year, 35 percent credit worth $300,000 to Rowmark LLC in Findlay. The firm, which makes sheet plastic for awards and signs, plans to hire 21 full-time workers over the next three years and retain 108 employees.

GKN Driveline Bowling Green Inc. received a five-year, 45 percent tax credit worth $140,000. The company, which makes torque management devices, expects to hire 86 full-time employees and retain 66 jobs.

The controlling board of the state budget department approved nearly $12.5 million in loans and grants Monday for eight local firms and agencies.

Owens-Brockway Glass Container Inc., a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois Inc. in Perrysburg, was approved for a $3 million state loan as well as a $300,000 grant. The money will pay for new machinery and equipment for O-I's expanded research and development operations.

The Port Authority of Northwestern Ohio, which is based in Putnam County, received $3.5 million to help develop a new commercial complex in Leipsic, called Iron Highway Industrial Park.

The $5 million development is planned for 244 acres of currently open land near three major rail lines, said Martin Kuhlman, director of the Putnam County Community Improvement Corp., which works on behalf of the port authority.

Other funding approved by the controlling board included $4.8 million for the Lake Local School District emergency school building assistance program, $600,000 for the Wood County Port Authority for road improvements at CSX's intermodal freight facility near Henry Township, $76,000 to Bowling Green State University for a high-tech imaging system, $36,000 to Libbey Inc. for new machinery and equipment, $150,000 to Ruralogic Inc. for new equipment, and $24,000 to Toledo Children's Hospital for an injury prevention program.

The state's Development Financing Advisory Council Monday approved a $1.7 million loan for Structure Manufacturing Group Inc., a company that plans to buy the former Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. plant in Norwalk. The company will assemble and coat heavy truck cabs starting early next year and create 150 jobs over the next three years, Mr. Barbash said.

A $10.5 million loan was approved for BNB Napoleon Solar LLC, a subsidiary of a Pennsylvania firm that plans to open a solar power facility in Napoleon. The $21.6 million plant will supply power for Campbell Soup Co., which has provided land for the project and expects to sign a 20-year power-purchase agreement with BNB. The project is expected to create five jobs.

Contact Sheena Harrison at:

sharrison@theblade.com

or 419-724-6103



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