At Tuesday night’s board meeting, the board approved a tax abatement for Oerlikon Balzers VST. The company, which is located in the Pell City Industrial Park, plans another $5 million to its already $12 million investment at the local plant.
“We’re doing this as a precautionary measure,” said Don Smith, executive director for the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. “We don’t want the city and county to become an obstacle for this company’s expansion.”
Philip Read, a spokesman for America for Oerlikon Balzers VST in Pell City, said in April that the company is considering adding another Pulse Plasma Diffusion machine to meet production demands.
The massive Pulse Plasma Diffusion machine makes stamping dies and tools for the automotive industry five times harder than hardened steel. The machine measures about 50 by 20 feet.
Read said when the VST facility was completed 4 years ago, it was designed for expansion.
Officials say the facility is actually owned by the Pell City Industrial Development Board and leased to the company.
Read said the company has plenty of room to add another Pulse Plasma Diffusion machine at its Pell City facility.
He said an additional 4-5 employees could be hired if another Pulse Plasma Diffusion machine is added to the North American operations in Pell City.
Read said the company has seen an upswing in their business.
“Production is up 33-percent compared to last year,” he said.
Smith said the company would get about a $339,000 tax break during the next 10 years, if the company moves forward with the expansion.
Smith said taxes earmarked for local schools are not included in the tax abatement.