FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 16, 2020) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced today that PRCO America Inc., a manufacturer of specialty refractory brick for the steel industry, plans to open its first U.S. production facility next year in Graves County, a nearly $5.5 million investment expected to create up to 32 full-time jobs.
“The opportunity to announce PRCO America’s first U.S. facility in West Kentucky comes at a welcome time as we reopen businesses, reinvigorate the economy across the commonwealth and continue to create good-paying jobs for Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kentucky’s many attractive qualities – including our workforce and, for this development, our proximity to U.S. steel mills – will continue attracting jobs and investment as we move forward.”
PRCO executives plan to establish a state-of-the-art refractory plant in an approximately 35,000-square-foot building in Hickory, an unincorporated community six miles north of Mayfield. The company will also use three other buildings on the site for various purposes, including office space. The operation will produce custom-sized resin-bonded magnesia graphite refractory brick, which steel mills use to line their furnaces and transfer ladles.
Company leaders plan to install the latest hydraulic pressing and automation technology, to ensure high productivity and that products are high in quality. The facility could begin production by the end of 2020.
West Kentucky stood out nationally as their ideal location, PRCO leaders said, based on its proximity to the Mississippi River for cost-effective delivery of raw materials, as well its central location to America’s steel producers.
The plant also will source a unique raw material, making its products longer-lasting and instrumental in producing cleaner-quality steel.
“We expect to fill this plant to full capacity quickly,” said Ricky Wang, president of PRCO America. “Refractory made using this new raw material is already showing a 15% to 25% or greater improvement in performance for our customers in products we imported into the USA to qualify the new formulations in American steel producing operations.”
Founded in Pittsburgh in 2008, PRCO America imports a full line of refractories for iron and steel making. The Kentucky plant will give the company both U.S. production and increased flexibility for manufacturing and delivery timing. PRCO America is a division of Puyang Refractories Group Co. The company’s customers include minimill and integrated steel producers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz, welcomed the company to West Kentucky.
“I would like to extend my appreciation to PRCO America Inc. for choosing to invest in West Kentucky’s economy and workforce,” Sen. Humphries said. “With the Mississippi River close by, our region is a centralized hub for the transport of steel and other industrial production materials. I look forward to new jobs and new opportunities for Graves County and the surrounding area.”
Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, said the company’s jobs and investment will bring an additional economic boost to the region.
“The need for skilled trade workers is growing at a rapid pace, which is why Kentucky needs globally known companies like PRCO America to strengthen our economy and workforce,” Rep. Heath said. “PRCO America’s investment will enhance Graves County and surrounding cities by providing higher-paying jobs and opportunities for our citizens.”
Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan said the new facility brings welcome employment and investment.
“We are so excited to welcome PRCO America to Mayfield and look forward to their growth within our community,” Mayor O’Nan said.
Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry highlighted the county’s distribution and logistics advantages as a draw for companies.
“PRCO America’s plan to invest and create jobs is a meaningful win for Graves County and I’m grateful to all involved,” Judge-Executive Perry said. “This continues a trend of manufacturers locating here for our workforce and location benefits. I look forward to our county being part of PRCO’s long-term success.”
Ryan Drane, president of Graves County Economic Development, credited a team effort and thanked the property’s owner, Brad Youngblood.
“I’m proud of how the teams at PRCO, Graves County and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development were able to work together to bring new jobs and opportunities to our community despite the many challenges we have all faced in 2020,” Drane said. “Thank you to all of our partners who were able to provide timely information during times of uncertainty and to Mr. Youngblood for working with the company to make the deal happen. Most of all, I would like to thank PRCO for their investment and we would like to formally welcome them to our community!”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in April preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $550,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $5.49 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 32 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years;
- Paying an average hourly wage of $24.50 including benefits across those jobs
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, PRCO can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
For more information on PRCO America, visit www.prco-america.com/index.html.
A detailed community profile for Graves County can be viewed here.