German manufacturer to open facility in Jasper

JASPER - Governor Kay Ivey announced Tuesday, Dec. 22, that Germany-based Heiche Surface Technologies plans a substantial investment to open an advanced metals coating facility in Jasper, creating at least 73 jobs and expanding Walker County’s footprint in Alabama’s auto industry.

Heiche, whose customers include automakers and suppliers, will locate its manufacturing operation to a more than 100,000-square-foot speculative building in the Jasper Industrial Park, just two miles away from Interstate 22.

“Alabama’s automotive industry continues to spark economic growth throughout many parts of the state, and that robust growth is transforming Jasper into a hub for international automotive suppliers,” Ivey said. “Heiche is a welcome addition to the automotive supply chain emerging in the Walker County city and all across Sweet Home Alabama.”

Construction on Heiche’s new Alabama facility is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with operations expected to start by October 2021.

Founded in 1965, Heiche operates facilities in Germany, Hungary and Poland, as well as a U.S. operation in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Heiche, which specializes in the chemical surface treatment of metal parts, serves the automotive, machinery and electronics industries.

In 2018, Heiche became part of the publicly traded KAP AG and a key component of its surface technologies segment. Within this segment, the KAP Surface Technologies group operates in 10 locations with more than 800 employees.

"Despite ongoing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread reductions or restructurings in the automotive industry, KAP Surface Technologies continues to invest and expand its operations," said Nicolai A.J. Baum, CEO of KAP Surface Technologies. "By expanding its existing U.S. manufacturing footprint in the strategically well-situated Walker County, KAP Surface Technologies expects to strengthen its position in the U.S. market."

Heiche will become the fifth automotive supplier – and the first German company -- to operate a manufacturing facility in Jasper, which is located within 250 miles of 11 different automotive assembly plants in the Southeast. Existing automotive suppliers, primarily Japanese, currently employ more than 500 people in Jasper.

“We chose Jasper because we see a huge potential for development,” said Jürgen Werner, head of mergers and acquisitions as well as Greenfield Investments at KAP Surface Technologies. “Close location to the biggest players in the automotive industry, hospitality of the local authorities and great infrastructure are some of the key aspects, which resulted in our decision for this location.”

Following extensive exchanges with local representatives, Werner added, "Another and in my personal opinion most important point are people. We immediately felt at home here."
“Germany’s Heiche is an innovative company that specializes in sophisticated metal-coating processes used in auto manufacturing,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Along with new jobs in Jasper, Heiche will bring new expertise and advanced technological capabilities to the state’s increasingly dynamic auto industry. We welcome them as a partner.”

State Senator Greg Reed said the announcement is great news for Jasper and Walker County.

“Heiche is a premier company that will bring with it high-paying jobs and millions of dollars of investment to our community,” Reed said. “I applaud all involved in bringing this project to our area.”          

The Walker County Development Authority, the Jasper Industrial Development Board and the City of Jasper have been working on the Heiche project for the past four months.

“Job growth is the very core of growing a city, and on behalf of all in city government, we are pleased with the decision by Heiche to locate in Jasper,” Mayor David O’Mary said. “We welcome the Heiche team and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority, said the recruitment of Heiche to Walker County reflects Alabama’s “team” approach to economic development.  

“The cooperation between the state, local leaders, industrial boards, utilities and regional allies was critical to the successful recruitment of Heiche,” Knight said. “As an industry leader in advanced metal coatings, Heiche and their state-of-the-art facility are a welcome addition to our community and will help further our efforts to grow and diversify our local economy.”

See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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