Beshear announces German automotive supplier establish manufacturing operations in Murray

Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that iwis, a German automotive supplier, plans to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Murray. The project will create 75 new, full-time jobs and entail a more than $12.5 million investment in the Commonwealth.

Gov. Beshear met with officials from iwis to discuss the potential project during an economic development trip to Germany during the summer.

“I was very optimistic after meeting with iwis officials in Germany, and I’m thrilled with their decision to locate in Kentucky,” Beshear said. “This company further enhances Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry, and 75 jobs will have a powerful impact on the community, not only now, but for generations to come.”

Formed in Germany in 1916, iwis, a family-owned company, first began with success in the production of bicycle chains, and eventually became the iwis Group, a global technology leader in high-quality automotive and industrial chains. The company now has more than 1,000 employees at 22 facilities worldwide and plans to operate a 119,000-square-foot facility, located off U.S. Highway 641 North in Murray. Employees at the facility will manufacture timing drive systems for engines, and the operation will start at the end of 2013 and will ramp up production in 2014.

Managing Director of iwis, Johannes Winklhofer, said on behalf of his team, including Martin Kohn with global production and Holger Frank with U.S. sales, they had to say thank you for the great support of Beshear and his team at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; without them iwis would not be here. Also, special thanks to Mark Manning and the members of MCEDC, whose support made this a very easy decision.

The company is Kentucky’s most recent addition to an already dynamic and vibrant automotive industry, comprised of more than 440 motor-vehicle related establishments. Those facilities, which include four major auto assembly plants, employ nearly 72,000 people across Kentucky.

The location of iwis also adds to Kentucky’s success in attracting foreign direct investment to the state. Kentucky is home to more than 420 internationally based companies, including over 180 from Europe. In 2011, nearly 23 percent of all new jobs and more than 30 percent of all capital investment announced in the state was a result of foreign direct investment.

Sen. Ken Winters, of Murray, said he knows that a company with such a long history will find a good home here in Murray, where small-town values, hardwork and dedication are cherished.

To encourage the investment and job creation in Murray, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Staff report.