Governor Steve Beshear announced KOWA Kentucky Inc. cut the ribbon on its manufacturing facility in Corbin.
KOWA, which specializes in metalworking and treatment, is creating 30 jobs with its $10 million investment in the project.
The Knox County location is the Japanese company’s first operation in North America.
“Having the opportunity to make Kentucky the home of the company’s first North American location is an exciting prospect and shows our state is an ideal location for attracting new business,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “This is just another example of how Kentucky is successful at bringing in foreign direct investment.”
KOWA’s parent company, KOWA KOGYOSHO CO.,LTD. in Nagoya, Japan, opted to establish the plant in the Corbin Regional Speculative building at the Southeast Kentucky Business Park. The company’s operations will focus on surface treatment for automotive suppliers, specifically an advanced process known as electroless nickel plating.
KOWA is the latest in a line of successful foreign direct investment projects in Kentucky. The Commonwealth is home to nearly 450 foreign-owned manufacturing, service and technology firms. More than 170 of those are Japanese-owned, and they employ nearly 42,000 people statewide.
“The establishment of a plant in the United States was the first experience for KOWA and we have had to learn everything from the very beginning because of our lack of knowledge about doing business in the United States,” said Toshio Muguruma, director of KOWA Kentucky Inc. “Thanks to the utmost cooperation and support extended by Kentucky’s state government, Corbin’s city government and many other organizations, we can congratulate the grand opening of KOWA Kentucky’s facility today.”
“Full-scale operations, about four months away, are scheduled to start in February 2016, and our key personnel has already been put in place in order to prepare for the operational startup,” said Saetsu Sato, president of KOWA Kentucky Inc. “As that time nears, KOWA Kentucky will increase personnel as we work toward full-scale mass production in the future.”
KOWA provides hot dip galvanized coating and other various surface treatments for metal and metalworking.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome KOWA to Corbin,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, of Manchester. “This is an exciting development for our community that will provide solid new jobs and growth to our regional economy. We appreciate the efforts of the Governor’s office, our local officials and KOWA for making this project a reality, and we are proud to host the company’s first North American facility in our own backyard.”
“Today is a great day for Corbin and Knox County as KOWA Kentucky opens its first North American facility here,” said Rep. Jim Stewart, of Flat Lick. “It is my hope KOWA will be the first of many companies in the automotive manufacturing industry that will decide to call our community home, bringing with them more jobs for our people and a further boost to our local economy.”
“Congratulations to KOWA Kentucky Inc. for the completion and grand opening of their new facility in the SEKY Business Park,” said Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney. “We are proud to welcome this outstanding company to our business community.”
“As judge-executive of Knox County and on behalf of the Knox County Fiscal Court, I would like to welcome KOWA Kentucky, Inc. to the Southeast Kentucky Regional Business Park,” said Knox County Judge-Executive J.M. Hall. “We support this project completely and stand ready to assist in any way possible. We feel KOWA Kentucky Inc. will have a tremendous impact on our county and the region.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $600,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Additionally, KOWA Kentucky Inc. was preliminarily approved by KEDFA for $50,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
KOWA Kentucky Inc. also is currently partnering with the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.
For more information on KOWA Kentucky Inc., visit www.at-KOWA.co.jp/us/KOWA-kentucky-inc.html.
A detailed community profile for Corbin can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.