KTH to add jobs, $471K to payroll

Honda supplier in Champaign County to start $28M expansion.

KTH Parts Industries — a Honda supplier that’s already one of Champaign County’s largest employers — is expanding again with a plan that will invest more than $28 million in the business and add at least 12 new jobs.

The company will add $471,700 in payroll with the 12 new full-time positions, beginning in April 2014.

Champaign County commissioners approved Thursday a 100 percent property tax abatement for the first 15 years of the expansion. The Johnson Twp. company has more than 1,100 employees, more than 800 of whom are full-time, permanent workers.

The project, which is expected to begin this year, will mean a roughly $23 million investment in machinery and $5.7 million for an expansion to its existing building.

In its abatement application, the manufacturer stated it was considering other locations.

“If KTH cannot be more cost competitive in Ohio, we may have to look at our Canada or Alabama operations for the addition of the new stamping press,” the application says.

The investment shows the company’s commitment to the county, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana.

“They’re looking into the future to see what else they can do to remain here,” Bailey said.

Officials from the company did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

The project will include a building expansion of as much as 28,000 square feet for a new stamping press. It will also include a building addition of 12,000 to 16,000 square feet for inventory staging and an additional 10,000 to 15,000 square feet for additional inventory storage.

The project also will include a 5,000 to 8,000 square foot locker room expansion and a 40,000 to 50,000 square foot trailer yard expansion.

According to information from the company’s application to the county, the project will increase KTH’s stamping capacity and decrease its reliance on outside suppliers for stamped metal parts. It produces auto body frame assemblies for Honda.

“Through vertical integration we are able to be more cost competitive for new business with Honda,” the abatement application states.

Honda has been increasing its investment in the state as well. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to invest $70 million in the state and transfer 100 of its current employees from other facilities to build a new high-end sports car in Marysville. Overall, about 1,500 people in Clark and Champaign counties work for Honda, which employs about 1,200 others throughout the Miami Valley.

KTH’s expansion is expected to begin this summer and be completed by August 2015.

The company has steadily grown since it officially began production in 1985 with about 150 workers.

It has been a good corporate citizen in the county since it was founded, said Bob Corbett, Champaign County commissioner.

“KTH has always lived up to their agreements and more,” Corbett said.

School board members at the Graham Local School District and the Ohio High-Point Career Center have also signed off on the abatement.

The company’s payroll overall is about $47 million, Bailey said, not including temporary workers.

“They’re pretty close to being one of the county’s largest employers,” she said.

Over the years, the company has also made donations to organizations such as the local fire department and other entities, and has been a benefit to the county, said Jack Purk, a Johnson Twp. trustee.

“It’s a real plus to have them here,” he said.