Asahi Kasei Plastics North America has found a sweet home in Alabama.
The firm has opened its new compounding plant in Athens, Ala., holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony there on April 26. The event was attended by Asahi Kasei officials including Senior Managing Executive Officer Yuji Kobayashi and North America President John Moyer. State and local officials at the event included Alabama secretary of commerce Greg Canfield and Tennessee Valley Authority Chairman Joe Ritch.
The $32.5 million plant already employs 51 — one more job than it was expected to create in its first three years of operation. It is operating two extrusion lines, with plans to install a third by September, creating as many as 10 additional jobs. Asahi Kasei broke ground on the plant in September 2014.
The 100,000-square-foot plant is making compounds based on polypropylene, nylon 6/6 and similar materials, primarily for the automotive market. Athens is located about halfway between Birmingham, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn., and is close to plants operated by automakers Toyota, Volkswagen and Nissan, as well as numerous auto parts suppliers.
Asahi Kasei is a unit of Tokyo-based Asahi Kasei Corp. and ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers. The firm's North American headquarters is in Fowlerville, Mich., where it operates a major compounding plant.