Companies such as Safetran Systems (United Kingdom), UFLEX (India), Denyo (Japan), SORD (Australia), and Linamar (Canada) have all made recent investments in the Commonwealth. This demonstration of confidence in Kentucky's pro-business climate is a testament to the state's ability to aggressively compete globally for new jobs and investment.
Manufacturers in the Bluegrass State are having great success and their numbers are growing. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed by the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers planned to hire between 1 and 19 employees in 2012.
Ford Motor Co. is spending $1.2 billion to transform its Louisville Assembly Plant into the company's most-flexible, high-volume factory in the world, as well as to upgrade its Kentucky Truck Plant, also located in Louisville. UFLEX Ltd., based in India, is investing $180 million in Elizabethtown to build its first manufacturing facility for its flexible film products.
German-owned ZF Steering Systems is also growing in a big way in Northern Kentucky, investing $95.8 million and creating 374 new jobs, while Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas just announced it will begin production of lithium-ion battery packs in Harrodsburg and open a third Kentucky facility in Berea, bringing its new investment total to $154.5 million since 2009.
Large on Logistics
In addition to its manufacturing strength, Kentucky is a logistical paradise. The state is located within 600 kilometers of 65 percent of the American population. Two international airports and two top air cargo hubs (UPS and DHL) helped rank Kentucky third in total air cargo shipments in 2010. Kentucky also has 90,000 miles of navigable rivers, major rail and river ports, five interstates, and nine major highways.
Kentucky is home to a variety of corporate headquarters, including YUM! Brands (KFC and Pizza Hut), Lexmark, Humana, Tempur-Pedic®, and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America.
While some started in Kentucky, others have relocated to the state for its favorable business climate, low energy costs, progressive incentive programs, highly skilled and educated work force, significant logistical and geographic advantages, and superior quality of life.
Florida Tile, a fully owned subsidiary of Italy's Panariagroup, relocated its headquarters to Lexington, gaining an advantage by being near its existing manufacturing and distribution operations in Lawrenceburg. Korean-based Arcron Systems, which manufactures medical IT technology, will soon establish its North American headquarters in Northern Kentucky.
Many of Kentucky's successes have been possible because of the state's new and revised tax incentive programs for companies that locate, expand, or reinvest in the state. Since July 2009, hundreds of companies received approval through these programs and are implementing or considering investments totaling nearly $4 billion across Kentucky, with the potential to create or retain more than 30,000 jobs.
Companies looking for low business costs, competitive incentive programs, a central location, and an excellent quality of life will discover that Kentucky also offers the "can-do" work force and business environment that they need to succeed.
Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development
Erik Dunnigan, Commissioner, Business Development
Old Capitol Annex
300 West Broadway
Frankfort, KY 40601