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Can - More parties interested in look at closed Maritime Steel plant

The receiver for Maritime Steel and Foundries Ltd. said more potential buyers are interested in touring the facility than the ones that made the trip on Tuesday.

Paul Goodman, senior vice-president of BDO Canada Ltd., said on Thursday that two companies toured the plant as potential buyers.

There are more to come, he added.

"There's certainly one more going this week," Goodman said. "A couple more have expressed interest."

Goodman would not reveal the identities of the companies that were in town earlier this week, he said they were not from Nova Scotia but were Canadian.

One of those unnamed companies was represented by its CEO, CFO and senior vice-president, noted  Goodman.

He said he had a conversation with the CFO the day after the tour.

"They were certainly interested. He was asking more questions than would be normal."

Maritime Steel went into receivership on New Year's Eve after its parent company, Cameron Corp., called in a $17.75 million loan it couldn't repay.

Goodman said he's currently in the process of putting together an information package for any potential buyers.

"We hope to have everybody playing under the same rules."

He said the packages would be available to potential buyers soon.

"Hopefully they will flush something out."

Goodman said they would like to see a positive outcome for the facility.

"We're trying to work as efficiently as possible. If possible we'd like to sell it as an operation although it's not operating currently.… We'd like to get people back to work."

New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan said he was excited to hear of the amount of interest in the company.

“It is certainly encouraging to learn that there are potential investors interested in Maritime Steel and especially hopeful if there is an immediate interest. We all can appreciate that in today’s challenging economy we need to keep as many jobs as possible viable and sustainable in our community. I am pleased to learn that there are other options being explored so quickly. We hope our local business support agencies and organizations will play a role in helping the displaced employees through a transition period.”

Pictou Regional Development Agency executive director Gerald Gabriel said the agency is willing to lend a hand in any way it can.

"The PRDA will do its utmost to support those interested."

He said he is glad to see the amount of attention the foundry is drawing already.

"The county is known for its metal fabrication. It would be good to see Maritime Steel up and running again."

The Pictou County Chamber of Commerce said the news of potential buyers touring the facility is positive.

"It's encouraging that they have two potential buyers that are interested," said chamber executive director Faus Johnson. "One of them operates out of Quebec. It seems like a nice fit.… The fact that there's action this quickly is a good sign."

A source from Halifax told The News that he heard the interested company was Nova Steel Inc. of Lasalle, Que.

A call to Scott B. Jones, president of Nova Steel Inc., was not returned by deadline.

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