Kentucky recently received another boost to its automotive industry with the announcement that iwis, a German automotive supplier, will locate its first U.S. plant in Murray, Kentucky.

The company becomes part of the 440 motor-vehicle related companies, which include four major auto assembly plants, that employ nearly 72,000 people across Kentucky.

Governor Steve Beshear had met with the company in Germany on a recent economic development trip.

Formed in Germany in 1916, iwis, a family-owned company, first began with success in the production of bicycle chains, and eventually became the iwis Group, a global technology leader in high-quality automotive and industrial chains.

The company now has more than 1,000 employees at 22 facilities worldwide and plans to operate a 119,000-square-foot facility, located off U.S. Highway 641 North in Murray. Employees at the facility will manufacture timing drive systems for engines, and the operation will start at the end of 2013 and will ramp up production in 2014.

“I am delighted to see iwis bring its first U.S. manufacturing facility to Murray,” said Murray Mayor Bill Wells. “The EDC, along with the Cabinet for Economic Development, has been working on this project for over nine months, and it is terrific to see all of that effort pay off. iwis is a fine example of a family-owned business, and we look forward to iwis being here for many years, growing the company and providing good jobs.”

The project will create 75 new, full-time jobs and entail a more than $12.5 million investment in the Commonwealth.

To encourage the investment and job creation in Murray, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 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.

Kentucky is home to more than 420 internationally based companies, including over 180 from Europe. In 2011, nearly 23% of all new jobs and more than 30% of all capital investment announced in the state was a result of foreign direct investment.