THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWNThe Chicago company will also help the troubled steel mill collect some bills from old customers.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- CSC Ltd. has taken one more step toward liquidating the shuttered Warren steel mill, but an attorney said the company continues to search for a buyer to revive the facility as an intact business.
Judge William T. Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the hiring of Development Specialists Inc., a Chicago-based financial consulting and management firm, which will prepare the company's machinery, equipment and scrap for sale.
Atty. Shari Heyen, from the Cleveland firm of Baker & amp; Hostetler which is representing CSC in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, said DSI will also act as a collection manager, helping the company collect payments still due from customers.
Almost all of CSC's 1,300 hourly and salaried workers have been laid off, except for a skeleton crew working to guard and maintain the plant, she explained, so there's no one left to collect accounts receivable. The plant ceased operations in March, and a mothballing process to preserve equipment for long-term storage ended April 13.
Seeking a buyer: CSC filed for bankruptcy court protection in January, and the company has hired the Cleveland office of McDonald Investments to find a buyer to operate the mill as a going concern. Company attorneys have said that at least two prospective buyers had expressed serious interest in the plant, but no offers have been reported.
United Steelworkers of America Local 2243, which represents CSC hourly workers, is also looking for a business partner willing to help workers buy the plant under an employee stock ownership plan.
John Kubilis, president of the Local, has said the union is working with Michael Locker, a New York City consultant, to complete a business plan and financing details for a possible ESOP.
Heyen said after the hearing that CSC hasn't given up on looking for a buyer, though it must also prepare for the alternative.
DSI, according to a description on its Web site, operates, manages and consults "troubled businesses" and has handled more than 4,000 cases like CSC's throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Besides its Chicago headquarters, the company also has offices Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and London.
Auctioneer: DSI is the second company hired to prepare CSC for liquidation. Last month Bodoh approved the hiring of Michael Fox International, a Baltimore-based auctioneer, to prepare the mill for a piece-by-piece sale.
Fox workers have been taking inventory and cataloging CSC's equipment, machinery and furnishings, with plans to conduct a liquidation sale within nine months unless the company can find a buyer to run the mill.