Light-maker to add space, jobs in Paris

Light-maker to add space, jobs in Paris

PARIS — North American Lighting plans to nearly double the size of its plant in Paris and add 300 jobs there, the company announced Thursday.

The company, a unit of Japan's Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd., makes lighting products, such as head lights and tail lamps, for auto manufacturers.

It plans to add 200,000 square feet to its 250,000-square-foot plant in Paris and buy new equipment for additional production lines, according to a release from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The cost of that investment is estimated at $50 million.

"The auto industry is growing, and so are we," said Greg Conrad, president and chief operating officer at North American Lighting. "As the auto industry recovery brings new business to North American Lighting, we are bringing new business to Illinois."

North American Lighting already employs 719 at its Paris plant and 160 at its headquarters there, according to Commerce Department spokeswoman Sandra Jones.

The company is the largest automotive lighting supplier in North America not affiliated with an automotive manufacturer. It has been supplying most North American vehicle manufacturers since 1983.

Its other Illinois manufacturing operations are located in Salem and Flora. The company employs 2,600 full-time workers in the region.

North American Lighting also has facilities in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Farmington Hills, Mich.

For the expansion in Paris, the state commerce department is providing a $1 million grant under its Large Business Development Program.

That program is for major business expansions that result in substantial private investment and the creation or retention of Illinois jobs.

North American Lighting is also eligible for a $150,000 Employer Training Investment Program grant to increase the skills of its workforce. It can also use an Economic Development for a Growing Economy — EDGE — tax credit valued at $3.2 million over 10 years.

A company is eligible for those tax credits only if it meets its commitment to create new jobs, keep existing jobs and make its agreed-upon investment.

In the release, Adam Pollet, director of the state commerce department, called North American Lighting "a growing business that is helping to revitalize our state's manufacturing sector."

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