MOUNT VERNON — Today, John D. Ellis and family, and Prestress Services Industries LLC, announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement that will combine certain assets of United Precast Inc. and Prestress Services Industries LLC.
UPI holding meeting today
MOUNT VERNON — United Precast Inc. employees are invited to attend a meeting today at 6 p.m. at the Dan Emmett Conference Center, Howard Street, in regard to the merger between UPI of Mount Vernon and Prestress Services of Kentucky.
A meeting with employees will take place tonight, at 6 at The Dan Emmett Conference Center, to go over the merger and what it will mean to employees.
PSI will maintain uninterrupted operations in Mount Vernon, and will continue the employment of substantially all of the employees of UPI. The Mount Vernon operation strengthens PSI’s position in the Ohio market, joining existing operations in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.
“In evaluating merger offers, John Ellis was focused on selecting a partner who would continue operations in Mount Vernon. He accepted the PSI offer at the expense of others that would have more directly benefited the Ellis family,” said financial advisor for UPI, Dave Perry CPA.
“The combination of PSI and UPI creates a compelling value to our customers, employees, and shareholders, creating new points of distribution and new product lines. Additionally, we believe the larger scale of the combined enterprise will create operational efficiencies and will enhance our ability to compete in this economy over the long haul,” said Ellis. In addition to their interest in the merged company, the Ellis family will retain ownership of Ellis Brothers Ready-Mix and United Aggregates, both longtime employers in Knox and surrounding counties.
Ed O’Connell, a 20-year employee of UPI, has been named acting general manager, and is leading integration efforts with PSI.
“We are focused on strengthening our operation, and are transitioning work into Mount Vernon from other PSI plants. This includes handling the transportation of hundreds of bridge beams that are being fabricated at PSI’s Columbus plant,” said O’Connell. “PSI currently operates three major plants and two smaller facilities. Mount Vernon is a geographically important location, complementing PSI’s other facilities in surrounding states. Our goal is to upgrade and transform Mount Vernon into a fourth major manufacturing and transportation hub.”
Bridge and structural precast concrete products will be marketed under the Prestress Services brand. Culverts, utility and environmental precast concrete will continue to be marketed under the United Precast brand.
Following its 2009 acquisition, UPI’s longtime bank sought to reduce exposure to the construction industry, and demanded UPI make alternate financing arrangements. Uncertainty in the national picture for transportation and infrastructure spending led to an inability to secure appropriate financing from conventional lenders. “We operated independently for 42 years,” said O’Connell. “ However, the economic collapse created a situation where we needed to find a new partner, ideally one that could provide the strong financial resources and operational expertise to take us through our next 42 years. We’ve found exactly that in PSI.”
The law firm of Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston advised UPI. The law firm of Benesch, Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP represented PSI.