Seeking to return struggling Russellville automotive supplier Precision Die Casting to profitability and retain more than 170 jobs after purchasing it in February, India-based Rane (Madras) Ltd. plans to invest $5.8 million in new equipment, tooling and upgrades to the factory on Hopkinsville Street.
“Rane’s recent investment in Logan County brings a welcome lift to southcentral Kentucky,” Gov. Matt Bevin said last week. “It demonstrates the impact that economic developers can have when matching the interests of local and international companies. Rane Precision Die Casting’s investment will fuel the continued growth in our automotive industry and provide quality jobs for the region. We are grateful for their longstanding commitment to manufacturing in Kentucky.”
Rane Precision Die Casting manufactures high pressure aluminum die-cast steering and compressor components for the automotive industry. Its customers include automotive suppliers TRW, Nexteer Automotive, Mahle and JTEKT. The investment planned will cover the costs of new tools, machinery and refurbishment of existing equipment. Company leaders expect this to increase efficiency and machine uptime while lowering costs by reducing scrap.
“Rane is encouraged by the support provided by The Logan Economic Alliance for Development, the Logan Industrial Development Authority, the City of Russellville, Logan County, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development,” said Harish Lakshman, chairman of Rane Precision Die Casting Inc. “We are impressed with the quality of the workforce. Rane is confident of reviving the business back to profitability over the next few years. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Russellville and Logan County.”
Founded in 1956 as a captive die caster for Rockwell Corp., Precision Die Casting was sold in 1989. That began a string of ownership and name changes culminating with Rane (Madras) purchasing the company early this year.
Rane (Madras), based in Chennai, India, is part of Rane Group, a leading global supplier of Steering and Suspension systems, friction materials, valve train components, occupant safety systems, die-casting products and aerospace-grade wiring harnesses.
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville, thanked Rane for its commitment to Russellville and said he expects the new investment will boost the economy.
“I welcome the news and thank Rane for choosing to invest in our state and in Russellville,” said Sen. Westerfield. “This reinvestment will further energize our regional economy, help secure jobs for hard-working Kentuckians and contribute to the nation’s third-largest auto manufacturing industry.”
Rep. Martha Jane King, of Lewisburg, welcomed Rane to Logan County saying she appreciates the company’s investment.
“It’s an honor to welcome Rane to our county as the new owner and steward of Precision Die Casting,” said Rep. King. “We are proud that our trained workforce at the existing plant was the reason Rane chose Logan County over a Mexican location for its first North American plant. I want to thank its leaders for taking this step to invest in our community and its employees, and I also appreciate those local and state leaders who have worked with the company to make this possible.”
Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton pointed to the jobs saved by Rane’s decision to locate in the community and noted the company’s growth potential.
“Rane’s commitment to Russellville is great news for our city. Their investment saved over 170 jobs and insured continued operations at the former Rockwell plant,” Mayor Stratton said. “Rane is a well-established auto parts manufacturer with great potential. We truly appreciate their investment in our community.”
Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick said the community’s workforce had a major impact on Rane’s decisions.
“Our experienced and highly qualified workforce was a key factor in attracting Rane to Russellville and Logan County. Their expertise and skill impressed the Rane team and helped to secure this very important investment,” Judge Chick said. “Rane was looking to establish operations in North America. They considered Mexico and ultimately chose Russellville and we welcome them.”
To encourage the investment and job retention in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in June preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $1.2 million through the Kentucky Reinvestment Act. The performance-based incentive allows the company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits by meeting job retention and investment targets.
In addition, the company can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.