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Japan-based Tokai Carbon GE Expands Hickman, Kentucky, Manufacturing Plant

Japan-based Tokai Carbon GE, a manufacturer of graphite electrodes for the US steel industry, will invest $25 million to expand operations and install new equipment at its plant in Hickman, Fulton County, Kentucky.

“We are excited to strategically invest into our graphite electrode business to support the US steel industry,” said Scott Carlton, President of Tokai Carbon GE LLC. “Our Hickman facility and its dedicated employees have demonstrated benchmark quality and efficiency for many years, and further investing into the plant will allow us to grow and better serve our customers in the future.”

Tokai Carbon GE LLC is a subsidiary of Tokai Carbon Co. LTD, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The parent company has been in business since 1918 and is one of the world’s leading graphite electrode suppliers. Tokai Carbon purchased the US-based graphite electrode business from SGL Carbon in November 2017 to better serve the US steel industry, and now operates production facilities in Hickman and Ozark, Ark. The Tokai Carbon Hickman site has operated since 1990, and the company currently employs 50 people.

Heidi Smith, general manager of global business for the Tennessee Valley Authority, said, “TVA and Gibson Electric Membership Corp. congratulate Tokai Carbon GE LLC on its decision to expand operations in Fulton County,” Smith said. “Helping to foster job creation and investment is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service and we are proud to partner with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Fulton-Hickman Counties Economic Development Partnership to help further that mission and support Tokai Carbon GE LLC’s continued success in the Valley.”

“One of the major goals of our administration is to create quality job opportunities for Kentucky residents,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “The presence of existing companies like Tokai Carbon GE make that mission all the more attainable. This company has been a reliable employer in west Kentucky for the past 30 years, and we are proud its leaders continue to create jobs for the local workforce.”

Hickman Mayor Heath Carlton said; “We’re glad to see and support Tokai Carbon’s growth in Hickman,” Mayor Carlton said. “As Tokai is a key member of our business community as both an employer and local economic driver, we look forward to the company’s continued success.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $500,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $25 million and annual targets of: Creation and maintenance of 15 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years and paying an average hourly wage of $29 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, Tokai 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.

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