Snyder, delegation meet with leading business

Sara Wurfel

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder and his delegation completed their first day of meetings, plant tours and official receptions in Milan, which launched the team’s weeklong European investment mission to Italy and German.

MILAN – Gov. Rick Snyder and his delegation completed their first day of meetings, plant tours and official receptions in Milan, which launched the team’s weeklong European investment mission to Italy and German.   

While in Italy, the delegation will meet with government officials and business executives in Lissone, Bergamo and Turin to strengthen relationships and attract job-creating investments to Michigan. Total foreign trade last year between Michigan and Italy stood at $1.65 billion while import and exports with Germany amounted to $5.9 billion. The trip also marks the first time Snyder and Nigel Francis, the state’s top auto adviser, have traveled together, targeting European auto-industry business. 

“The Michigan reinvention story resonates with companies throughout Europe,” said Snyder. “Michigan’s business climate is attracting foreign businesses that want to expand or relocate to be in the global capital of the automotive industry. These face-to-face meetings are essential to further establish vital and dynamic relationship with investors and job-creators.”

Highlights of day one of Michigan’s European investment mission began with a plant tour of Brugola OEB Industriale S.p.A. A manufacturer of sockets screws and special fasteners for heavy duty applications, Brugola maintains a warehousing and distribution operation in Canton, Mich. The company, which serves automotive manufacturers in Europe and North America, is considering a new site for a manufacturing and assembly facility in southeastern Michigan.

From Brugola, the Snyder-led Michigan delegation – which includes Michael Finney, president of Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Nigel Francis, the state’s senior automotive adviser – went on to a plant tour at Brembo Machining. 

Brembo is a large Italian Tier-1 manufacturer of automotive brake systems, especially for high-performance cars and motorcycles. The company recently expanded operations at its Homer, Mich. facility, where it has 300 employees. 

Two years ago, Snyder traveled to Europe to strengthen ties with Italian and German companies with business operations in Michigan. Subsequently, a number of Italian and German companies expanded or made significant investments into their Michigan-based business. Among the notable developments was an investment in May 2012 by Germany-based company Brose, a supplier of mechatronic components. Brose invested $60 million and created 450 jobs at its sites in New Boston, Auburn Hills and Warren. 

Italian and German companies play an important role in the Michigan economy, notably: 

  • There are 350 German companies in Michigan. Total Michigan-Germany foreign trade for 2013 was nearly $5.9 billion.
  • There are 40 Italian companies. Total Michigan-Italy foreign trade for 2013 was $1.65 billion.
  • 72,000 Michiganders are employed by German- and Italian-owned companies operating in the state. These companies represent a wide range of industries, but are heavily concentrated in advanced automotive manufacturing and research and development.

This is the Snyder administration’s second mission to Italy and Germany, and the 10th investment mission overall. Other missions led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have been to Japan, China, Korea, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, and Canada.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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