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COLD METAL Union wins auction for Campbell factory



Published: Sat, March 1, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Former workers still must resolve real estate, equipment and financing issues.

THE VINDICATOR

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- Former workers trying to restart Cold Metal Products' Campbell plant won an auction to buy key equipment and inventory at the plant.

Cold Metal was to ask a bankruptcy court judge today to approve the sale to United Steelworkers of America Local 3047, which is trying to organize an employee buyout of the plant.

Duane Wycoff, company vice president, said the union outbid a group led by a former manager at the Campbell plant during a private auction Wednesday.

The Boardman-based steel processor, which has been in bankruptcy since August, is selling its plants under pressure from lenders.

If Judge William Bodoh approves the sale to the union, much has to be done before the plant is restarted. The union is hoping to bring back at least 50 of the 116 jobs that were lost when the plant closed in August.

Bob Boak, union president, couldn't be reached this morning, but Wycoff said ownership of the plant real estate hasn't been decided.

The city of Campbell was hoping to buy the real estate through a governmental agency, apply for cleanup grants and lease it to the union.

Mayor Jack Dill attended the auction but declined to comment this morning, other than to say he had some reservations about what happened.

The union also needs an investor to back its bid. Boak said earlier this week that the union's consultant is hoping an investor would come forward once the auction was complete.

Drew Munera, former general manager at the plant, said he is working with a Cleveland businessman who is interested in backing the union's effort.

Dan T. Moore Co. also is considering creating a business that would operate in the plant alongside the union's business, Munera said.

Other details

At the auction, the union was approved to buy edging machines, considered important because they are needed in making steel for saw blades. However, it also would have to buy other equipment that previously was sold to a New Jersey equipment dealer.

As for other plants up for bidding Wednesday, Cold Metal accepted an offer for its Ottawa, Ohio, plant from a Kentucky steel company. It also accepted offers for its plants in Montreal, Quebec, and Roseville, Mich., from groups led by management of those plants.

The bidding on Cold Metal's plant in Indianapolis was delayed for 10 days. No bids were made for its plant in Hamilton, Ontario.

shilling@vindy.com




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