FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 23, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear highlighted continued momentum in the state’s technology and manufacturing sectors with the announcement of Funai Lexington Technology Corp.’s (FLTC) planned expansion in Fayette County, which includes an investment of over $3.8 million and will create six high-quality jobs for local residents.
“Expanding the technology sector throughout the state is going to better position Kentucky for a dynamic economy and workforce in the future,” Gov. Beshear said. “We have the resources, the location and the companies to make the commonwealth a major player in today’s economy, and that momentum is only growing. I want to thank Funai Lexington Technology Corp.’s leadership for their continued commitment to Kentucky and I am thrilled to see their future success in Lexington.”
The project will see the company expand its facility on Setzer Way in Lexington, with investment in equipment that will strengthen the research and development of heater chips, upgrade semiconductor processing equipment and increase the overall production volume to meet the demanding quality and precision requirements for these applications.
One of the main upgrades will take place with the company’s Micro Electro Mechanical System (MEMS), which allows for the development of precise liquid handling devices for a wide range of applications. Upgrades to the system’s equipment will improve the quality and accuracy of the process. Additionally, the company plans to hire six skilled workers in the areas of sales and marketing, chemical engineering, life science engineering, materials engineering and semiconductor process operators.
Mike Marra, FLTC’s chief technology officer, said he is excited about the future possibilities that these upgrades will bring to the company’s technology.
“This investment in Funai Lexington’s MEMS processing capability and the expansion of our workforce is absolutely critical, not only to maintain the success of our products currently in the market, but also to enable rapid development of new products as we adapt our unique microfluidic technology to new applications,” Marra said.
In 2013, Osaka, Japan-based Funai Electric Co. LTD purchased Lexmark International Inc.’s inkjet technology and the following year established FLTC as a wholly owned subsidiary for the purpose of inkjet and microfluidic technology research. Since 2014, FLTC has generated 170 U.S. patent filings and introduced 15 new products in the commercial and industrial printing markets, as well as cosmetic and fragrance delivery for consumers. The company’s current research applies microfluidic technology to the life science market of drug delivery, discovery and diagnostic applications. FLTC currently employs 45 full-time Kentucky residents and two remote employees.
FLTC’s investment adds to Kentucky’s growing manufacturing presence, which includes nearly 5,000 facilities that employ approximately 250,000 people across the state. In 2021, manufacturers contributed to 13,900 new jobs in the commonwealth with $10.5 billion in new investments.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said the region’s strong workforce has contributed to continued growth.
“Our technology sector continues to grow, creating good-paying jobs,” Mayor Gorton said. “Our highly educated workforce makes Lexington attractive to high-tech companies. Congratulations, Funai. We look forward to your continued success!”
Commerce Lexington Inc. President and CEO Bob Quick is appreciative of the company’s continued commitment to Lexington and looks forward to their future success.
“The Commerce Lexington economic development team enjoyed working with Funai in 2013 to help find a home for their R&D facility in Lexington, and it’s been wonderful to see the transformation of the company since that time,” Quick said. “Today, Funai Lexington Technology Corp. has grown to 47 full-time employees with plans to increase that number over the next year. The additional capital investment and jobs will not only help the company expand its capability, but also demonstrates Funai’s confidence in Lexington as a great place to do business. Foreign direct investment is an important component of our economic development efforts, and we appreciate Funai’s continued commitment to our community. Congratulations to Funai on its continued success!”
FLTC’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger from the effects of the pandemic.
In 2021, the commonwealth shattered every economic development record in the books. Private-sector new-location and expansion announcements included a record $11.2 billion in total planned investment and commitments to create a record 18,000-plus full-time jobs across the coming years. Kentucky’s average incentivized hourly wage for projects statewide in 2021 was $24 before benefits, a 9.4% increase over the previous year.
In the last year, the Beshear administration announced the two largest economic development projects in state history. In September 2021, Gov. Beshear and leaders from Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation celebrated a transformative $5.8 billion investment that will create 5,000 jobs in Hardin County. And in April of this year, the Governor was joined by leadership at Envision AESC to announce a $2 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs in Warren County. These announcements solidify Kentucky as the EV battery production capital of the United States.
The economic momentum has carried strongly into 2022, with both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings upgrading Kentucky’s financial outlook to positive in recognition of the commonwealth’s surging economy.
And Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky at 6th in its annual Prosperity Cup rankings for 2022, which recognizes state-level economic success based on capital investments.
For April 2022, the state budget director reported the highest-ever monthly General Fund receipts of $1.84 billion. That is up 34.9% over last April’s collections, bringing Kentucky’s year-to-date growth rate to 16.4%.
Also in April, the state reported a 3.9% unemployment rate, which was the lowest rate ever recorded. In May, the rate fell to a new record low of 3.8%.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December preliminarily approved FLTC for up to $200,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, FLTC can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.
For more information on Funai Lexington Technology Corp., visit FunaiLex.com.
A detailed community profile for Fayette County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.