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EAST ALTON – Governor JB Pritzker made a special visit on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, to join members from Wieland Rolled Products North America and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) with other local leaders and partners to announce a new Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois (REV Illinois) agreement.

Wieland announced at the event that it will invest $500 million in modernizing its East Alton facility – one of six across Illinois. The investment, which retains 800 jobs across the state, will enable the company to increase production of critical copper and copper alloy components that are used in electric vehicles (EVs), EV charging infrastructure and renewable energy production while supporting the state’s clean energy economy.

The company investments reinforce its long-term commitment to its facilities and the future of advanced manufacturing in Illinois and, most important to this region, the East Alton operation.

The announcement is the product of a year of work between the State and Wieland to ensure Illinois secured this transformative investment. Wieland’s modern plant in Vöhringen, Germany, which Governor Pritzker toured alongside Wieland CEO Dr. Erwin Mayr, was used as a benchmark for the modernization of the East Alton facility – a testament to the shared commitment for longevity and growth in Illinois.

Gov. JB Pritzker“Copper production is an essential part of a sustainable manufacturing future in Illinois, and Wieland’s commitment to increased capacity will benefit other sustainable industries across the state, further growing this thriving sector,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Wieland’s leading work in copper solutions is a major part of the East Alton economy, and I’m grateful that they have reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable manufacturing and to the community.”

As part of its commitment to Illinois advanced manufacturing modernization, Wieland will invest $500 million to modernize its East Alton facility. Wieland’s footprint in Illinois also includes facilities in Carol Stream, Granite City, Montgomery, Tinley Park, and Wheeling.

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“Copper is not only integral to the energy transition, it is the foundation of a sustainable future,” said Wieland CEO Dr. Erwin Mayr. “This investment positions Wieland as the undisputed leader in North American rolled products and underscores our commitment to the revitalization of American manufacturing. This investment represents our dedication to respond to our customers’ evolving needs, bringing long-term sustainable solutions to the North American market. The project will allow Wieland to significantly expand future capacity and deepen our collaboration with our customers in building towards a more sustainable future.”

The modernization paves the way for increased and improved production of high-quality copper and copper alloy components for EVs, EV charging infrastructure and renewable energy production through the installation of a new state-of-the-art hot rolling mill in the East Alton facility. By re-equipping, expanding and modernizing its facility, Wieland will increase its operational efficiency and deliver even higher standards of quality and reliability for its portfolio of copper and copper alloy rolled product solutions.

“Today’s announcement is about leveraging Wieland’s more than 200-year history to build upon the 100-year history of our East Alton facility,” said Greg Keown, President of Wieland Rolled Products North America. “I’m incredibly grateful to Governor Pritzker, Deputy Governor Andy Manar, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative Nikki Budzinski, the team at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Mayor Darren Carlton, and Madison County who worked tirelessly to make this project a reality. This is a shining example of how public-private partnerships are intended to work.”

Wieland’s total incentive package from the State of Illinois, which includes REV and other incentives, is valued at approximately $231 million. Through REV, Wieland is eligible to receive tax benefits totaling $172 million over 30 years. A link to the executed REV agreement can be found here. The remaining benefits include capital funding for infrastructure projects in East Alton, which includes the construction of a new electricity substation, flexible funds for workforce support, and additional tax incentives.

DCEO Director Kristin Richards“Wieland’s facility modernization project is an extraordinary example of what happens when we prioritize investing in our state’s world-class workforce and preserving a century-old relationship with a business that has deep Illinois roots,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “This investment will help bolster the State of Illinois’ clean energy economy and is an investment in the future of manufacturing jobs in East Alton.”

Wieland’s decision to modernize and expand operations in Illinois speaks to the state’s superior workforce, strong supply chain, infrastructure and unmatched location in the middle of everything. Local officials responded positively to the announcement.

Wieland’s investment comes on the heels of a banner year for economic development in the EV and clean energy sector, including Gotion's EV battery gigafactory in Manteno – which represents the largest manufacturing investment in decades and the largest EV battery investment to date, as well as REV agreements with Manner Polymers in Mt. Vernon, who is building a first-of-its kind solar-powered PVC compounding plant using clean energy generated on-site; Prysmian Group in Du Quoin, whose $64 million expansion will manufacture cables for the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors; and Microlink Devices, which manufactures state-of-the-art solar cells and solar shields in Niles.

About Wieland

Wieland is one of the world's leading suppliers of semi-finished copper and copper alloy products. With a global network of more than 80 production sites, service, and trading companies, the company offers a broad product, technology, and service portfolio. From prototype to series production, Wieland develops solutions for automotive, aerospace, electronics, refrigeration, air conditioning, and many other industries. Wieland uses high-performance copper materials to drive the success of its B2B customers in future-oriented fields such as electromobility, connectivity, and urbanization. High technical competence, customer-oriented thinking, and sustainability determine their actions and have been the basis of the company's success since 1820.

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