CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sogefi Group's plan to expand its auto parts manufacturing plant in Wayne County will lead to at least 250 jobs, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday.
The agreement to expand the company's Prichard plant came about during Tomblin's European investment mission last month, he said. Tomblin met with Sogefi Group CEO Guglielmo Fiocchi in France.
The Prichard plant was one of several sites the company considered for expansion. The $20 million expansion will allow Sogefi to add engine intake manifolds to its product line, where it currently employs 160.
"West Virginia offers tremendous value for businesses who need a top-notch work force and a winning business climate," Tomblin said. "Sogefi's expansion underscores the competitive edge that's attracting more and more businesses to our state."
Sogefi's plant manufactures parts for automobile engines, including fuel pumps, fuel filters and oil filters. The plant produces more than 5 million pumps and filters each year for worldwide auto firms such as Toyota, Ford, Fiat, Chrysler, BMW, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai and Kia.
Sogefi entered the Mountain State in 2004, opening its first plant with a $37 million investment.
"The plant that we opened in West Virginia in 2004 was the first entry of Sogefi SpA into North America," Fiocchi said. "Our company has had great success in West Virginia, and we consider the partnership with the state and local government officials to be important factors."
The West Virginia Economic Development Authority in October provided approval to purchase and lease to Sogefi $750,000 worth of new equipment, which is scheduled to arrive from May through August.
Troy Thomas, Sogefi's Prichard plant manager, said the new equipment and product line would allow Sogefi to continue moving forward.
"We've come through the rough period and now we're prospering," Thomas said.