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"Here, we’re centrally located near our customers in the Midwest and the southeast. We also have an outstanding existing workforce that we just couldn’t afford to leave behind.”

Industrial brake, clutch supplier consolidating in Whitley

Statement as issued Tuesday by the company and Indiana officials:

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (June 3, 2014) – Warner Electric LLC, a manufacturer of PTO clutches and brakes for lawn tractors, agriculture equipment and diesel engines, announced plans today to consolidate its South Beloit, Ill. operations to here, creating up to 20 new jobs by 2018.

“For companies looking to expand, Indiana stands out as a state that works,” said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. “With our low taxes, skilled workforce and pro-growth business environment, company executives know that Indiana is a prime location to start and grow a business. This continues to be validated by the growing number of companies like Warner Electric that are bringing their business to the Hoosier State.”

The company, which is a subsidiary of Braintree, Mass.-based Altra Industrial Motion, Inc., will invest $2 million to lease a 96,000 square-foot facility on a 12.9 acre campus near Columbia City. The new facility, which will be modified for Warner Electric by July, will allow the company to consolidate its Midwest operations, including its three facilities across Whitley County, into one location, with most production at this new building previously housed in Illinois. The new facility also provides room for additional Altra production to be transferred to Indiana in the future, while the company plans to still maintain its facility in South Beloit, Ill.

“In order to maintain our company’s competitiveness, we considered multiple locations for this new consolidated facility,” said David Ebling, president of Altra Industrial Motion’s electromagnetic clutch brake group. “However, we kept coming back to Indiana. Here, we’re centrally located near our customers in the Midwest and the southeast. We also have an outstanding existing workforce that we just couldn’t afford to leave behind.”

Founded in 1963 as Alcoils, Warner Electric supplies clutches and brakes for original equipment manufacturers. The company primarily serves the agriculture, turf and garden industries, with expectations to increase production capacity upon consolidation.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Warner Electric LLC up to $50,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $75,500 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Whitley County approved additional tax abatement at the request of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.

“On behalf of Whitley County, I am pleased to see a longtime employer like Warner Electric continue to invest in our community,” said George Schrumpf, president of the Whitley County Commissioners. “I look forward to working with Columbia City and Whitley County leaders to support the company’s expansion plans.”

Because of Indiana’s low taxes and stable business environment, companies continue to migrate across the state lines to Indiana. With the help of these companies, Indiana’s unemployment rate has enjoyed the third largest decrease in the nation. In April, Indiana’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, while Illinois’ unemployment was significantly higher at 7.9 percent.

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