Foundry Daily News

Canada - FisherCast Global has been sold to Dynacast Ltd.

<font size="2">"We have signed an asset purchase agreement with FisherCast subject to court approval," Simon Newman, Dynacast's chief executive officer, said. Newman would not reveal the purchase price. </font>

<font size="2">With FisherCast in bankruptcy protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice must approve the sale.&nbsp; </font>

<font size="2">An environmental expert is checking the plant, and there is an "open issue" with the lease of the facility, but Newman said those issues are unlikely to scuttle the agreement. </font>

<font size="2">"We expect those to close," Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">An international firm with an office in Toronto owns the Otonabee Plant on Neal Drive, a Fisher- Cast source told, requesting anonymity. </font>

<font size="2">FisherCast executive vice-president Bob Espey would not comment on the purchase agrement, but said FisherCast would make a statement in the coming days. </font>

<font size="2">With the company mired in financial issues that need to be resolved, Newman said, it's tough to talk about the future of the local plant. </font>

<font size="2">"But we are reasonably confident, assuming the book of business stays at the level it's at, that we can turn this around in a three to six-month period," he said. </font>

<font size="2">"And we are reasonably confident we can grow this business -- particularly in magnesium and injection metal assembly -- and therefore continue to support this business and the community." </font>

<font size="2">The acquisition of FisherCast is an important move for Dynacast, an international manufacturer with sales estimated at $450 million, Newman said.</font>

<font size="2">"It adds a brand, technology, magnesium injection metal assembly and a unique process for small zinc diecasting," he said. </font>

<font size="2">The products manufactured by FisherCast and Dynacast are similar, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"But the technology is different. FisherCast is unique, and so are we, but it's a different process. </font>

<font size="2">"The brand Bill Fisher and the family built is very strong and so is the legacy. And the legacy is very important to the community and us." </font>

<font size="2">Dynacast is also currently negotiating an asset purchase agreement with FisherCast's European operations in Wales, U. K., Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"We are in discussions with the Welshpool Plant as we speak," he said. </font>

<font size="2">"They are somewhat connected and we hope to conclude on that facility in the next two weeks." </font>

<font size="2">The short time in which to make and execute decisions made negotiations with FisherCast and its union difficult, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"When the bank tells you it's effectively pulling its funding and you are going to file CCAA, you have to make decisions very, very fast," he said. </font>

<font size="2">Dynacast entered into sales talks with FisherCast on June 4, the day bankruptcy protection was approved. </font>

<font size="2">The layoff of 34 union workers and 15 salary employees on July 23 was the idea of the existing Fisher- Cast management, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"They were trying to -- in desperate times -- do whatever they could to make the company financially viable. </font>

<font size="2">"This is something any management team would try and do in an environment like this," Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"I have told all the employees and the management team, and so have the existing FisherCast management, that the decisions were made based on the best information they had at the time," Newman said. "That's all you can do." </font>

<font size="2">Dynacast also needed specific concessions from the Independent Union of Precision Diecasters (IUPD), which represents Fisher- Cast's hourly employees, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"This is a company in bankruptcy. To protect the 160-plus (union) jobs we needed to build our strength and have the flexibility to make decisions," he said. </font>

<font size="2">"Without that flexibility we don't believe we would be able to do some of the things as quickly as we needed to do them and right the ship and protect the main bulk of the employees." </font>

<font size="2">Employee seniority was a "deal breaker" issue for Dynacast, Newman said, explaining the company approached the union stating, "we would like" this concession. </font>

<font size="2">On July 9, union members voted 73 per cent in favour of concessions including the surrender of all seniority rights. </font>

<font size="2">"For us (the concessions) were deal breakers," Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">Without an opportunity to review the asset purchase agreement yesterday, the union executive did not want to comment on the sale. </font>

<font size="2">Dynacast employs about 2,7000 people in 16 plants worldwide and some of their European operations are unionized, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"The (IUPD) poses no problems to us at all," Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"Decisions have to be made, sometimes in terrible circumstances, and the existing Fisher- Cast management team did the best they could in the circumstances that were in front of them," Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"I would like to try and focus on the employees that are still employed and the business that's still there. And where we feel we can turn this ship around and continue to employ those kinds of levels and/or more as the business grows. </font>

<font size="2">About 200 people are employed at he local plant. </font>

<font size="2">"I know it's hard for people but at the end of the day we have to survive. We want to employ as many people as we can but we need to be as efficient as we can," he said. </font>

<font size="2">"But we are very confident that we can turn this business around in a very short period of time and if growth does happen we can begin to employ more people again." </font>

<font size="2">There is always a chance laid-off employees could be recalled, Newman said. </font>

<font size="2">"But there are too many moving parts in any business, including economic conditions that govern how many people we employ and whether we take people back or not," he said. </font>

<font size="2">"Hopefully in a year from now, a general manager will be talking about the success of the business."</font>

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