Ashland's Lexington-based Valvoline subsidiary will construct a 5,000-square-foot building at its headquarters as part of a plan to hire 40 additional employees during the next decade.
"Valvoline's been experiencing growth in market share and a very high rate of international growth, and the team here supports our global technology efforts as well as all the North American efforts," said Fran Lockwood, senior vice president of research and development. "Since everything has been growing, we need to grow the support staff."
On Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved $930,000 in state tax incentives for the estimated $1.55 million expansion.
Lockwood said the company had excess laboratory space in Ohio that could have been used for the expansion, but "through the state incentive program, I was able to convince management that it made more sense to keep it here in Kentucky."
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Ashland spokesman Jim Vitak added, "The Lexington market has been good for Valvoline, and we think we've been good for Lexington. Anything that would build upon that existing relationship would be a positive for both parties."
Construction is expected to begin in late August, with completion targeted for April.
While the jobs will include research-and-development positions, there also will be other positions for salespeople and others during the next few years, Lockwood said.
As part of the incentive agreement, the jobs are expected to pay $50 hourly, including benefits. The company also must maintain a base of the roughly 700 workers on site currently.