The Kansas Department of Commerce, along with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, Kansas State University, the city of Manhattan, and the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, announced that an international fertilizer and animal health company, Prathista Industries Limited., will open a research and development and production facility here.
Established in India in 1996, Prathista develops and manufactures eco-friendly feed supplements and agricultural nutrients to replace existing inorganic plant nutrients and food additives. The company utilizes fermentation manufacturing technology, and has successfully launched organic fertilizer and pesticide products around the world. They have a corporate presence in Uganda, the Philippines and the Netherlands. The Manhattan location will represent an expansion into the North American market.
“Prathista’s expansion into Manhattan represents another win in our community's strategy to attract and create high-pay, knowledge-based jobs,” said Manhattan Chamber of Commerce President Lyle Butler. “We anticipate continued success as we build on the phenomenal research capabilities at K-State and the unique collaborative recruitment efforts of K-State, the city, chamber, K-State University Institute for Commercialization, K-State Research Foundation, and K-State Foundation.”
The company plans to create up to 10 jobs averaging more than $20 per hour while partnering with K-State on research. After a few years of initial research and development work, Prathista plans to construct a 52,000-square-foot, permanent manufacturing facility that would create approximately 50 new jobs.
“Prathista will work collaboratively with K-State and create world-class jobs in Manhattan supported by global sales,” Butler said.
K-State’s research strength and the opportunity for collaboration was a major factor in Prathista’s decision to expand into Manhattan. In spring 2011, K-State Provost April Mason toured Prathista's facility in India and met company workers and officials.
“It was apparent that between the university and city's strengths of being research-oriented and business-friendly, Manhattan was the ideal location for it to flourish,” Mason said. “As a research-based company, Prathista aligns well with both the city's economic development strategy and private sector research activity, as well as with K-State's expertise in agricultural research. This is an advantage that will help make K-State a top 50 research university by 2025, and economic benefit the community as K-State helps attract more science-based companies to the area.”
Steven Graham, assistant to the dean in the K-State College of Agriculture, also worked closely with the company during the recruitment process: “We welcome Prathista International to the Manhattan community and look forward to working with them on collaborative research and educational activities. One research project with the company has already begun and others are anticipated they seek to develop, test and validate products that will work in the U.S. market.”
Prathista plans to lease the Airport Armory Building for use as its pilot plant, and is hiring an architect to work jointly with the city to design leasehold building retrofits to accommodate their needs. Their capital investment in the facility will be over $5.5 million. The city’s proposed incentive package includes reimbursements to the company for approved improvements not to exceed $500,000. Any excess costs will be the sole responsibility of Prathista. The city will retain ownership of the building and all improvements.
“We are pleased that Prathista will turn an underutilized city facility into new wet lab and bioscience research space,” said Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr.
Kent Glasscock, president of the Institute for Commercialization, sees Prathista as validation of a strong university/community relationship: "We are proud to welcome Prathista to Kansas and thrilled to see once again the partnership of K-State and Manhattan producing broader benefit to the university and community. Their decision to expand to Manhattan fits exactly with the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization’s goal of leveraging the intellectual capability of K-State for knowledge-based economic development."
The Department of Commerce assisted in the project with an incentive package that includes a forgivable loan as well as training and tax credits.
“We appreciate the experience of the Kansas Department of Commerce in dealing with international companies; they were very helpful with us and followed up throughout the process,” said John Pagen, vice president for economic development with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “I know that Prathista was very impressed with the assistance they received from the team at Commerce.”