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Wisconsin company buys Clarksburg coil factory

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Wisconsin-based aluminum company plans to buy Scott Aluminum Corp. in Clarksburg and hire 13 workers within the next few years.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority approved a request to transfer a $2.7 million agency loan from Scott Aluminum to Skana Aluminum Co. Thursday.

The loan will be used to purchase equipment in the Scott Aluminum plant and increase the staff from 35 to 48 workers over the next three years.

In April 2011, the EDA approved a request to transfer a $3.2 million agency loan from Aluminum Services to Scott Aluminum, headquartered in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Aluminum Services, a Morgantown-based investment group, used the loan to purchase equipment and property from the former Precision Coils aluminum factory in Clarksburg, which closed a year earlier. 

Citing slumping aluminum prices and the recession, Precision Coil shut down the plant in April 2009, putting 100 employees out of work.

Precision Coil -- which was known as a "niche player" in the aluminum industry -- specialized in filling small orders and delivering them quickly. Aluminum Services expected to adopt a similar business model.

In an effort to save the plant, the EDA approved a $3 million loan in April 2009 for a private equity company that had planned to purchase Precision Coil. The loan never closed.

"What we're repeating is what happened when Scott Aluminum bought Aluminum Services," said David Warner, executive director of the Economic Development Authority. "Scott Aluminum assumed Aluminum Services' loan and now Skana Aluminum is assuming Scott Aluminum's loan."

Since November 2009, Skana Aluminum has manufactured customized aluminum coils and flat rolled products. The company operates a direct-cast production facility in Manitowoc, Wis.

In other business Thursday, EDA members gave final approval for four loans that total $1.3 million for Ohio Valley Veneer to finance equipment and facility improvements at the former Veneer and General Woods building in Spencer.

A $700,000 loan will be used to purchase the facility; a $300,000 loan will purchase the equipment; a $100,000 loan will go toward improvements to the building; and a $200,000 loan will be used to add new equipment and improve the facility's current equipment.

The facility in Roane County has been empty for more than five years. Ohio Valley Veneer, a manufacturer of wood products, operates in Ohio and Kentucky. This will be the first time the company has operated in West Virginia.

The project is expected to create 18 jobs in the next three years, according to the EDA.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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