International Companies in the Bluegrass

Kentucky is home to many international companies with operations located around the state, and the Bluegrass Region has particularly benefited from foreign direct investment (FDI).

According to the KY Cabinet for Economic Development, the eight counties of the Bluegrass are home to 20% of the foreign-owned facilities in Kentucky and 24% of the employees. Specifically, there are 88 facilities with ownership from 17 different countries, employing 20,891 people full time. Almost half of the facilities are in Fayette County (28 facilities, 32%) and Scott County (15 facilities, 17%), while almost all of the employees are in Scott County (9,663 employees, 66%), Fayette County (4,213 employees, 20%), and Madison County (2,470 employees, 12%).


The majority (63%) of these facilities are owned by Japanese investors, employing 15,316 people full time in 55 facilities, representing 73% of all FDI jobs in the Bluegrass. In the past ten and a half years alone, Japanese-owned companies have opened 16 facilities in the Bluegrass Region with a current total of 526 full time employees. During this time, Japanese owners have invested $1.7 billion of capital investment into new and expanding operations in the Bluegrass. In fact, 67% of the 24 facilities established since January of 2005 are owned by Japanese companies, accounting for 80% of the full-time employment positions created by those 24 facilities.

Eighty percent of the Japanese-owned facilities are smaller establishments with less than 200 full-time workers (44 facilities) and 64% have 100 workers or fewer (35 facilities). However, several Japanese-owned facilities are major employers in the region, with 8,462 employees at three Toyota facilities in Scott County and 1,350 employees at two Hitachi facilities in Madison County.

German investors are also prominent in the Bluegrass Region, with 8 facilities currently employing 2,493 people full-time. In the past ten and a half years, German-owned companies have established two new facilities and invested $81 million in capital investment into new and expanding business in the Bluegrass. Several German-owned facilities are major employers in the region, with 861 full-time employees at three Osram Sylvania facilities in Clark County and Woodford County, 760 employees at the Montaplast of North America facility in Franklin County, and 592 employees at the Webasto Roof Systems facility in Fayette County.


Note: A version of this blog will appear in June’s Business Focus. 

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