A.K. of West Virginia opens Jackson County facility

By The West Virginia Record | Jun 27, 2006

RAVENSWOOD -- A.K. of West Virginia Corp. officials on Monday celebrated the dedication of the company's new production facility in Jackson County, located adjacent to K.S. of West Virginia's Ravenswood production facility.

In July 2005, Kazuo Kato, CEO of K.S. of West Virginia Co. Ltd. located in Ravenswood, and president of Kato Seisakusho Co. Ltd. of Nagoya, Japan, announced a joint venture between K.S. of West Virginia and ASKA Corp. of Kariya, Japan. A.K. of West Virginia, a 50/50 ownership between the two companies with a projected $10 million combined investment, will create as many as 100 jobs.

"K.S. of West Virginia is a successful business that is a result of excellent employees, exceptional customers, and strong support from our local, state, and national leaders. We plan to use this model to ensure that A.K. of West Virginia is also a success," said Kato, co-CEO of A.K. of West Virginia.

"ASKA Corp. is very proud to partner with K.S. of West Virginia in this new joint venture. The support and leadership from West Virginia is impressive, and we look forward to A.K. of West Virginia becoming an important part of the state and local community," said ASKA Corp. President Keisho Katayama, co-CEO of A.K. of West Virginia.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Gov. Joe Manchin solidified plans for the new company during their Spring 2005 Trade Mission to Japan. During a meeting in Nagoya, Japan, attended by Kato, Katayama, Rockefeller and Manchin -- A.K. of West Virginia was born.

"West Virginia appreciates this important investment in Jackson County by K.S. of West Virginia and ASKA Corp.," Manchin said. "As one of the state's earliest Japanese investments, K.S. of West Virginia's confidence in West Virginia's ideal location and skilled, productive work force helped pave the way for automotive industry growth in this region. The partnership of K.S., a caring, family-oriented employer and outstanding corporate citizen, and ASKA Corp., with its impeccable reputation in automotive technology, will yield positive results for generations to come."

"The opening of A.K. of West Virginia represents not only a marriage of two companies –- it also represents the further strengthening of West Virginia as one of the premier automotive manufacturing industry centers in the eastern United States," Rockefeller said. "We've been very successful in showing companies around the world the enormous benefits of locating plants in West Virginia and tapping into the work ethic of our citizens. Our success has meant more economic development, more jobs and more recognition of our state around the globe."

National and international, state and local partners have cooperated in K.S. of West Virginia's success story, including U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito.

"Today is a great day in what we expect to be a celebrated relationship between A.K. of West Virginia and the state of West Virginia," Capito said. "I am confident that Jackson County will be a very capable and fitting home for this new venture, and I welcome the quality jobs it will bring to the area."

A.K of West Virginia Corp. is a metal stamping company manufacturing small-to medium-sized precision parts, which will also perform welding and assembly, to serve the automotive industry.

K.S. of West Virginia Co. Ltd., which incorporated in West Virginia on Oct. 12, 1995, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kato Seisakusho Co. Ltd. in Nagoya, Japan.

Established in 1949 as a toy car manufacturer, Kato Seisakusho Co. Ltd., is now a world leader in precision metal stamping, plastic molding, die-making and assembly. Kato Seisakusho Co. Ltd.'s other subsidiaries include Chihiro Co. Ltd. in Nagoya, Japan; Beyonics Precision Stamping Pte. Ltd. in Singapore; Ranee Precision Co. Ltd. in Inchon, South Korea; and, Shanghai Aigi Automotive Parts Co. Ltd., scheduled to open this fall in Shanghai, China.

K.S. of West Virginia performs metal stamping and assembly of small, precision parts, as well as insert injection molding, for the automotive industry. K.S. of West Virginia has approximately 100 full-time employees working a three-shift operation.

ASKA Corp. was established in Nagoya, Japan, in 1953, as a metal stamping company. The company currently has approximately 520 employees and three business divisions: automobile parts, switchboard and robot systems.

Metal stamped products manufactured by ASKA Corp.'s automobile parts division include body parts, chassis parts and engine device parts. Switchboard products include switchboards, control panels, boxes for boards, high and low distribution panels and cubicles. The robot division manufactures industrial robots, factory automation systems, control systems and network equipment.

Along with ASKA Corp.'s headquarters and main plant in Kariya, it has a second production facility in Nukata-Gun, both in the Aichi Prefecture. ASKA Corp.'s other subsidiaries include ASKA Limited Co. of Kariya, Japan; ARMS Co., Ltd. also of Kariya, Japan; FIRSTEC Co., Ltd. of Chongju, South Korea; and ASKA Engineering Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was established in March 2004.

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