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SHARPSVILLE Former foundry reopens as SQP Industries



Published: Thu, June 7, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN

There are 40 employees so far, and more could be added as business improves, one official said.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- There's activity again in the former Sharpsville Quality Products foundry on Sixth Street.

Rising out of the ashes of bankruptcy, the foundry has a new owner and a new name -- SQP Industries.

Don Lacey, chief operating officer, said the foundry has resumed production of ingot molds for the steel industry and counterweights for the heavy-lifting equipment industry.

The company is also looking at additional product lines to expand its operations but has nothing developed at this point, he said.

Sharpsville Quality Products itself was born out of the bankruptcy of its parent company, Shenango Inc., which folded seven years ago.

The workers organized a buyout of the plant and retained 55-percent interest in the foundry, giving them control of operations.

Things were going well last year when the foundry ran into a financial crunch caused by a couple of its largest customers having their own financial difficulties.

Breaking point: They couldn't pay their bills, and, as a result, neither could Sharpsville Quality Products. The company was forced into bankruptcy and shut down in November. It had about 75 employees at the time.

Rather than see the plant cut up and sold for scrap, the company and its creditors arranged a sale through federal bankruptcy court to Hempfield Partners Inc. of Pittsburgh in January for $1,055,000.

James Snyder, Hempfield Partners president, said the plan was to reopen the foundry as quickly as possible with about 30 employees.

Lacey said the foundry came back on line April 2, pouring its first mold that day.

The foundry has a work force of 40 people, and that could grow as business improves, he said.




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