Lakeshore Business Scores Large Government Loan

Crash Management Systems production at Constellium.Photo ©Gérard Uféras for Constellium.

Crash Management Systems production at Constellium.
Photo ©Gérard Uféras for Constellium.

(LAKESHORE, ON) – Astrex, a joint venture of Ontario’s CanArt Aluminum Extrusion and Holland’s Constellium, has $17 million in borrowed Federal government money to work with to create a North American first-of-its-kind aluminum automotive structural parts factory.

Aluminum components are highly valued for their ability to reduce vehicle weight, lower fuel consumption, and reduce carbon emissions.

Lakeshore’s Astrex has a staff of about 375 and expects the money will help it add more staff; as many as 22.

“The investments made today in Astrex and GBatteries will lead to new products and services that are more energy efficient, emit lower carbon emissions and promote healthier communities,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “The investments will give middle-class Canadians working in the auto sector the opportunity to design and build the cars of the future. In the process, they will develop the skills that prepare them for the jobs of the future. That’s how innovation leads to a better Canada”

Constellium, while a relatively new name, has a history dating back to 1855. In that year, Henri Merle began producing caustic soda from coal, salt, pyrites, and limestone. Within five years he added aluminium.

Over the years, the company grew through mergers and acquisitions. In 2011, when it was known as Alcan Engineered Products, it was bought by a group of investors led by Apollo Global Management. The operation’s name changed to Constellium.

Brampton-based Can Art has been in the aluminum extrusion business since 1988. It now operates facilities in Brampton as well as Windsor and Mississauga.

Astrex is receiving a repayable contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario through its Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Collectively with the government loan and other financing, it will have $63.6-million to fund a four-year project to produce crash management systems in vehicles.

“At Astrex, we have created a facility at the leading edge of aluminum extrusion technology and with the support of the Government of Canada, we are proud to be able to create more manufacturing jobs in the Windsor area,” said Mark Blackmore, the general manager at Astrex.

Other funders are the Government of Ontario at $1.5 million, Astrex’s corporate partners, CanArt Aluminum Extrusion and Constellium for $10.4 million, and private sector financing of $34.7 million.

FedDev Ontario will fund the first phase, which will include the purchase and installation of specially-designed equipment. Astrex will bring its first manufacturing line into operation next month.

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Robert Tuomi

After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields.

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