Kentucky considers creating small-business venture capital fund

jpatton1@herald-leader.comNovember 1, 2013 

Kentucky is considering working with a venture capital fund for small business.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority board discussed the fund Thursday. The fund would be created under the Kentucky Small Business Credit Initiative to better use $15 million allocated under the federal Small Business Jobs Act.

Kentucky doesn't have a small-business venture capital fund, although many other states do.

No date has been set for getting the potential fund up and running; the Small Business Credit Initiative already has three credit-enhancement programs for small businesses.

Some of the other KEDFA actions of interest at Thursday's meeting in Frankfort included the following:

Lockheed Martin Corp., which recently received a government contract for logistics support services, will fulfill the contract at its Lexington plant. Some of the work will include aviation repair, warehouse supply services, small-arms weapons repair, communications equipment, manufacturing and production, according to the project description.

Lockheed previously had received approval for $15 million in tax incentives related to a $26 million investment. On Thursday, the incentives were reduced to $10.8 million on a $15 million investment.

The project has a target of 391 jobs, with an average hourly wage of $25.44, including benefits.

International Crankshaft, in Georgetown, got approval for $1.15 million in incentives for a $46.64 million expansion of its operation to make crankshafts for passenger vehicles. The expansion will create 36 jobs with an average hourly wage of $23, including benefits.

Hart AgStrong, a canola oilseed processor in Georgia, was approved for $500,000 in incentives for a potential $7.9 million investment in a new crushing plant in Todd County that could process 150 tons a day and use 20,000 acres planted in the region. The factory would be expanded when canola production reaches 50,000 acres. The project could create 25 jobs with an average hourly wage of $19, including benefits.

Kentucky Kingdom LLLP — a partnership by Ed Hart, Al J. Schneider, Glasscock Entertainment, Lunsford Capital and Bruce Lunsford — received preliminary approval for $150,000 in incentives for a nearly $2 million redevelopment of the Louisville theme park and Hurricane Bay water park, to reopen May 24. The project could create 19 jobs with an average hourly wage of $20.46, including benefits.

Butler Animal Health, doing business as Henry Schein Animal Health in Lexington, received preliminary approval for $300,000 in incentives for a $2.67 million expansion into a larger warehouse for veterinary health supplies. The expansion could create 31 jobs with an average hourly wage of $16, including benefits.

Ticona Polymers Inc., a subsidiary of Celanese, received preliminary approval for $400,000 in incentives for a $25.7 million expansion of an existing plant in Florence. The project could create 10 additional jobs with an average hourly wage of $42, including benefits.

Creative Lodging Solutions, a travel management company that provides long-term and project-based lodging for corporate clients, received preliminary approval for $1.75 million in incentives for a nearly $5.5 million proposed new office in Lexington, which could provide 120 jobs with an average hourly wage of $20, including benefits.

Metalsa Structural Projects received final approval for $14 million in incentives for a $27.7 million expansion. The subsidiary of chassis assembler Metalsa plans to build a new automotive frame production plant in Hopkinsville that would create 572 jobs with an average hourly wage of $30.68, including benefits. The project received preliminary approval in March 2010 and has been expanded from $6 million in incentives to $14 million, based on increases in jobs and the size of the project.

The approval of tax incentives outlines the state's commitment to a project should it occur in Kentucky.

In general, when a company accepts the tax incentive, it can keep that amount of money, which it would otherwise pay in taxes, assuming it fulfills the terms of the deal.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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