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At a glance
Metaldyne LLC
Business: The auto parts supplier makes highly engineered, metal-based components for engines, transmissions and drivelines.
Headquarters: Plymouth, Mich.
Locations: 25 in 13 countries
Employees: More than 4,000, including 273 in Bluffton
2012 revenue: More than $1 billion
Source: Metaldyne website

Bluffton car parts plant to expand

Metaldyne project looks to add 35 jobs with new machinery

A Bluffton auto parts supplier is gearing up for growth.

Metaldyne M&A Bluffton LLC plans to invest $14.8 million in new equipment for its plant at 131 W. Harvest Road.

The project will create 20 new jobs, according to paperwork filed with the Bluffton City Council.

The skilled production jobs will pay $38,000 a year, on average.

Metaldyne hopes to create an additional 15 jobs once the machinery is up and running, Jim Phillabaum, Council president, said Thursday. Company officials didn’t return phone messages.

Company officials told the Council that they won additional business supplying Ford and General Motors, but other customers include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda and Volkswagen.

The Plymouth, Mich.-based manufacturer already employs 273 in Bluffton with a payroll of $8.5 million, according to the abatement request.

The northeast Indiana’s plant mills parts for auto differentials, Phillabaum said.

The Bluffton project doubles the company’s equipment investment at the factory. Installation is scheduled to begin next week and be completed by June 1.

Council members on Tuesday approved a 10-year tax abatement on the project. City staff didn’t provide estimated savings.

Metaldyne is making a comeback after filing for bankruptcy in May 2009, when it asked the court to allow it to reorganize. At that time, it was a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Tec, a Japan-based auto parts maker.

The Bluffton plant was acquired in October 2009 by a partnership formed by private-equity firms the Carlyle Group and Solus Alternative Management.

Then, in December 2012, the global operation was acquired by private equity firm American Securities LLC for an undisclosed sum.

Kevin Penn, managing director at American Securities, released a written statement at the time praising Metaldyne’s management team and “solid growth trajectory.”