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October 2, 2013
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Bilstein Group investing $120 million in Bowling Green rolled steel plant

Company will create 90 jobs, invest $120 million

Company will create 90 jobs, invest $120 million

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (Oct. 2, 2013) – Kentucky’s reputation as an ideal location for international investment was further enhanced Wednesday with the announcement that Bilstein Group, a family-owned German automotive supplier, will establish a new production plant, Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel LP, in Bowling Green.

Gov. Steve Beshear joined local leaders and Bilstein Group officials in Warren County to make the announcement, which will result in 90 new jobs and a $120 million investment in the commonwealth.

“It is with great pleasure that Kentucky welcomes Bilstein Group as its newest corporate citizen, one that will significantly enrich the South Central Kentucky region, as well as the entire commonwealth,” Beshear said. “The fact that world-class companies such as Bilstein Group continue to choose Kentucky as the destination for their global operations speaks volumes for the pro-business climate and workforce quality we have to offer. I congratulate Bilstein Group on its continued growth and look forward to building upon our partnership for years to come.”

Founded in 1911 in Hagen, Germany, Bilstein Group has grown to be the world’s largest supplier of cold-rolled products. In order to better serve its North American automotive industry customers, Bilstein Group plans to construct and operate a 150,000-s.f. cold-rolled steel manufacturing facility in the 72-acre Kentucky Transpark in Bowling Green.

“We are absolutely certain that Bowling Green is the perfect spot for our new state-of-the-art cold rolling mill, our most advanced annealing furnaces and slitting operations,” said Marc T. Oehler, CEO and partner of Bilstein Group. “Being both sufficiently close to our customers, suppliers and well within reach from Europe and any place in North America was critical to our decision.”

The announcement falls on the heels of Beshear’s return from an economic development trip to Europe, which included visits to companies in Germany, Spain and Austria. Interest in Kentucky from European-owned companies, especially those from Germany, has significantly increased in recent years.

Bilstein Group’s location marks the fourth German-owned site location project to develop in the last year. European companies, which employ nearly 26,000 people across the state, have a strong presence in Kentucky, accounting for 170 of Kentucky’s 400-plus foreign-owned firms.

“We have experienced not only an extremely professional and solution-focused support from both the Commonwealth as well as the city of Bowling Green and Warren County community from the very start,” Oehler said. “We also felt a lot of passion and personal effort from everyone involved, and I am very grateful for that. I am still excited to see the enthusiasm of all team members within Bilstein Group and within the Kentucky/Bowling Green team, including Gov. Beshear who found the time to visit our facilities in Germany during the preparation period of this project. Besides the perfect fit of the selected site to our ideas and plans, the spirit we found in Kentucky and within the team was a major reason to choose Bowling Green as our premier location in the U.S.”

So far this year, 11 new foreign-owned companies have announced plans to open or expand in Kentucky, including Kayser Automotive Systems in Fulton; Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems in Russell Springs; Alpla in Bowling Green and Hayashi Telempu in Frankfort.

More than 13,400 new jobs and capital investments in excess of $3.7 billion have been announced by foreign-owned companies during Beshear’s administration.

Design of the new facility will begin immediately with construction set to begin in the spring of 2015. The plant is expected to be operational by early 2018.

“Our region is known as the home of America’s sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette,” said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “But it’s the addition of internationally known automotive suppliers such as Bilstein Group that truly make South Central Kentucky a hub for the automotive industry. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Bilstein Group to the community.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $3.5 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.

KEDFA also approved Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel LP for tax benefits up to $1.4 million through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act, which 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.

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