WhiteRock Pigments lives on; gets 12-month extension on project

WhiteRock Pigments, Inc., a company who has developed environmentally friendly processes to manufacture chemicals used in paint, plastics and other products, is still in the works for Hancock County according to the company’s CEO. The $179 million project announced in October 2017 was going to bring 124 jobs to Hancock County before it stalled for lack of funding,  It’s now been granted a 12-month extension on its state tax incentives to give the project more time to come together.

During the December 4 meeting of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA), WhiteRock was approved for an extension on $3 million in incentives that had originally received preliminary approval for opening the facility in 2017.

This comes more than three years after CEO Bob Meyer said the company would be closing on the purchase of the former Alcoa building in Hawesville, and more than two years after Meyer said their major financial backer had dropped out.

That empty Alcoa building has since been sold to Envision Modular, but Meyer said the extension is proof that WhiteRock is still planning to make its home in Hancock County.

“Not much has changed,” Meyer said Tuesday, adding that all of his updates seem to be the same thing.  “We did get the extension from the state,” he said. “We’re in the process of still trying to finalize our total funding, not just to buy the plant or to buy the property.”

Meyer said in 2018 that a major foreign investor failed to come through with promised backing, but he said they’d tentatively secured enough to buy the building and get started but that he was still looking for more.

With the extension on the company’s Kentucky Business Investment incentives, which require milestones like hiring a minimum of 102 the first year after the activation date, WhiteRock has another year during which it can prepare to launch and meet those targets in order to keep the tax breaks.

Meyer has learned from previous pronouncements and deadline predictions and now says the company is simply putting together financing and will be ready when they’re ready.
“I don’t want to make it into something it isn’t yet,” he said. “It’s pretty much same status and we’re trying to get our final total funding in place.”

By Dave Taylor

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