LMI Aerospace expanding St. Charles facility, adding 100 jobs

2012-10-10T12:00:00Z 2013-03-12T08:42:49Z LMI Aerospace expanding St. Charles facility, adding 100 jobsBy Lisa Brown • lbrown@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8127 stltoday.com

LMI Aerospace Inc. is expanding its St. Charles headquarters and plans to add 100 jobs to keep up with growing demand from aircraft manufacturers and suppliers.

The aerospace manufacturing and engineering services firm announced today the capital invested in this expansion will total at least $4.3 million. The expansion will add about 49,000 square feet of office and manufacturing space to its local facilities.

LMI, which provides structural components, assemblies and kits for aerospace, defense and technology customers, employs more than 300 corporate and manufacturing employees at its St. Charles headquarters. Over the next five years, 100 jobs with an average annual wage of $70,000.

The company already has begun increasing its corporate office space, and construction on the expanded assembly space will begin within the next few months, said the company's CEO and President Ronald Saks.

LMI has 1,700 employees in 17 locations in the U.S. and Mexico, and is expanding several of its facilities. The company had $254 million in net sales in 2011 and expects to reach between $282 million and $298 million in 2012.

“We've expanded almost everywhere we are,” Saks said. “We're investing in places where (employees') skill sets match up with the need for products.”

To help pay for the local expansion, LMI is eligible for up to $1.6 million in state incentives through the Missouri Quality Jobs program,  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said at a press conference at LMI's headquarters Wednesday afternoon.

"It is a testament to the work force here in St. Charles that when a global leader like LMI needed to expand, they knew they could count on the hard working men and women of Missouri to get that job done," Nixon said.

An increase in business from customers such as Boeing Co. and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. is leading to LMI's growth, company executives said.

About 39 percent of LMI's business is from large commercial aircraft customers and suppliers, and corporate and regional aircraft account for about 30 percent of its sales.

“If you look at the commercial aerospace industry, there are record production rates for new aircraft,” said LMI's chief financial officer Ed Dickinson. “It's kept all of the supply chain busy.”

Part of the company's growth has come through acquisitions. In August, LMI acquired after-market engineering and support services firm TASS Inc., and the company is eying other acquisitions in machining operations, Dickinson said.

Lisa Brown is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch covering banking and other business news. Follow her on Twitter @LisaBrownSTL and the Business section @postdispatchbiz.

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