FRANKFORT — After a speedy trip to India, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday that he has inked a deal with a New Delhi company that will build a $150 million factory in Elizabethtown that could employ up to 250 people within three years.
Beshear said Uflex Ltd., which manufactures flexible packaging materials, will receive state tax incentives, which the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority tentatively approved Wednesday morning.
Plans are to build the plant in two phases, the first of which could be operating by late next year, creating an initial 125 jobs that pay roughly $16 an hour, according to the plan submitted to the state.
"It's obviously important in and of itself because it will have a great economic impact on Kentucky, but the additional importance of this is the fact that locating a company like this in Kentucky, we think, will open up the gates for more Indian companies to locate in Kentucky," Beshear told reporters Wednesday morning.
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Beshear and Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes flew to India Saturday, and were on the ground there for a day and half before the return flight that arrived back to Kentucky on Tuesday.
It was the governor's second trip to India. He led a delegation to India last fall, visiting New Delhi and Mumbai at the invitation of NASSCOM, a nonprofit organization that facilitates business and trade in software and services.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is a leading trade and economic partner for the United States. Kentucky's exports to India have grown more than 252 percent to $96.5 million since 2004.
Beshear said Uflex has been "very impressed" with Kentucky.
"They're going to be great salesmen for us with other Indian companies that are looking to do business in the United States," he said.
Uflex had announced last month that was planning to build a facility in the United States, adding to existing locations in India, Egypt, Dubai, Poland and Mexico.
With an unemployment rate now at about 10 percent, Beshear has been pressing to recruit new industries and to help existing Kentucky companies to expand, usually with tax incentives.
Beshear is scheduled to hold a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Elizabethtown with Uflex representatives to discuss the proposed plant and the incentive package valued at up to $20 million over the next decade.
"They're all performance-based incentives," he said. "They only get tax incentives as they perform, as they make their investment, and as they create the jobs," he said.