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Exal Corp. executive upbeat on new Youngstown plant

Published: Sat, February 13, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Don Shilling

The company’s president said he thinks demand is about to explode for its products.

YOUNGSTOWN — The president of Exal Corp. is confident he can begin construction of a new 400-employee plant this year even though financing is not complete.

Delfin Gibert, who hosted Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher at his original plant Friday, said he is hoping for about $20 million in government financing to assist in construction of the new plant in Salt Springs Road Industrial Park to make aluminum cans and bottles in specialty shapes.

Mayor Jay Williams and other city officials have the construction plans and are working on obtaining the assistance, Gibert said. They could not be reached to comment.

Fisher, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by George Voinovich, called Exal’s two plants in Performance Place on Poland Avenue among the most impressive he has seen. He said he will tell Gov. Ted Strickland that “we need to help this company.”

Gibert created Exal in 1993 with 25 employees and added a second plant in 2006. The two plants employ 400 and produced 470 million cans and bottles last year.

The new plant would be able to churn out 3.5 billion cans and bottles a year because it would include a new, higher-speed production method.

Gibert said he thinks demand is about to explode for its specialty-shaped products.

For example, Exal is producing 8.5-ounce aluminum bottles for Coca-Cola that have the traditional Coke-bottle shape. Gibert said the soft-drink maker is testing the bottles in five U.S. cities and plans to expand production nationwide.

Paul Goodemote, Exal operations manager, said other beverage makers are looking at introducing specialty shapes as well, including those that produce beer, wine, sparkling water and energy drinks.

He said the new plant would be efficient enough to ship products all over the world.

Exal is no stranger to innovation.

Gibert showed Fisher a can that it developed for toothpaste. A button is pressed, and the can delivers toothpaste in a gel.

Retail sales started last year. The cans were ordered by corporate giant GlaxoSmithKline for its Aquafresh and Sensodyne toothpaste brands.

Another of Exal’s big-name customers is Anheuser-Busch, which uses Exal for its aluminum beer bottles. The plant was producing Bud Light bottles Friday that will be sold around St. Patrick’s Day next month. The bottles are green with shamrocks.

Gibert said he intends to build the new plant in stages.

He is trying to raise $100 million to construct the outer shell of the new plant and install two production lines. Eventually, he plans to add six more production lines at cost of an additional $300 million.

The state already has approved $4.3 million for site-preparation work and $747,500 for road work. The city has bought land for the project and committed to installing utilities.

Gibert said he also intends to add plants in Poland and Brazil next year. He already has two plants in Argentina and one each in the Netherlands and Switzerland. He also shares a French plant with another company.

Fisher said he visited the local plant to stress his support for federal-tax credits for companies that hire workers and his belief that banks need to be encouraged to resume responsible lending to small-business owners.



1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

EXCELLENT ! Jobs for The Valley is always good news !

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2HelloAgain(1 comment)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm all for jobs in The Valley, don't get me wrong. But let's look at the facts: Ohio has lost 300,000 jobs since Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher took over. Not only will they not apologize for it, they won't even take responsibility for their own (lack of) actions. Yet now that Lee Fisher is (again) running ANOTHER office (this time U.S. Senate) he acts like he's the solution. No Lee, you're the problem. When you hear, "Hi, I'm Lee Fisher and I'm here to help," you better hang on to your wallet and run like the wind!! We've heard it all before Lee Fisher!!

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3Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Hope this is a start.

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4paulydel(1509 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

This guy is a go getter and deserves the help. The economy went to pieces because the oil companies got greedy not because of our leaders. The oil companies put us in the red and that exposed other problems. Our representatives are responsible for other stupid mistakes though.

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5wcid(26 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I've worked there, good for the economy but I HIGHLY discourage ANYONE with hopes and dreams of a CAREER or a job with a FUTURE to apply there. I couldn't stand it from the day I started and was GLAD the day I finally found employment elsewhere and quit. I'm thankful EVERYDAY that I check in at my employer with thoughts of that gawd awful place of old...Exal...you will NOT be missed by me.

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6wcid(26 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh, I almost forgot to add my REASONING for being so so thankful...the 12 hour days are GRUELING and the work is mind-numblingly boring. It's miserabl HOT in the summer and in the winter you will work from can't see to can't see on dayshift. You can also FORGET plans for weekend events should they fall on your weekend to work. And kiss weekends goodbye if you are low on the toten pole of seniority in the summer bring PLENTY of water. Don't "CAN" your career by applying here!

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