2 local employers get tax breaks

Two Seymour manufacturers plan to grow next year, which will lead to job creation and retention.

Valeo North America Inc., a producer of automotive lighting systems, and O&k American Corp., a steel supplier, received tax abatements during Monday’s Seymour City Council meeting for projects totaling more than $15 million.

Jim Plump, director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., spoke on behalf of both companies.

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The largest investment is from Valeo, which plans to spend around $11.1 million to purchase new assembly line equipment for its Freeman Field facility, including presses, to support production of the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“This investment will not create any new jobs; however, it will retain over 1,600 workers they currently have here at their Seymour location,” Plump said.

In December 2014, the company announced a similar investment that created 18 jobs.

Valeo is the county’s second-largest industrial employer behind Aisin USA, which had more than 1,800 employees at the beginning of this year.

The lighting systems manufacturer has operated in Seymour since 1978 and has developed several lighting innovations for the automotive industry, including the Omni Blade Light Emitting Diode High Beam and Learning Edge Technology.

Both are used in vehicle models worldwide.

The new project is expected to begin after the first of the year and be completed by the end of 2016, Plump said.

Abatement allows the company to phase in paying taxes on the equipment during the next 10 years.

O&k American’s planned investment includes $3.7 million in new manufacturing and logistics/distribution equipment, including an annealing furnace to treat steel, and a $1 million building expansion at the Eastside Industrial Park facility.

Plump said the addition will be 13,500 square feet to house the furnace and will result in six new jobs paying $210,000 in salaries. The company currently employs 38.

Work on the project is expected to begin this month and be completed by the end of next year.

Last spring, O&k invested nearly $2 million to construct a 28,000-square-foot logistics building.

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$15.7 million: Total investments planned by Valeo and O&k American Corp. in Seymour

6: Jobs that are expected to be created by investments at O&k

10: Years approved by council for tax abatements on investments

13,500: Square footage of planned addition at O&k American in Seymour