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Premier Aluminum Consolidates Plants, Upgrades Remaining Assets

Premier Aluminum, Racine, Wis., has shut down metalcasting production at its Allenton, Wis., facility and upgraded its Racine plant to compensate for the loss.

Premier, which was purchased by private equity firm Ligon Industries, Birmingham, Ala., in August 2006, had maintained the two plants since 1990. According to the company’s new president Jason Dannenberg, the Allenton plant will remain open as a tool room and storage facility, but all manufacturing operations will be shifted to Racine.

“We are trying to be competitive in the global market and make sure we’re as efficient as possible by having all operations under one roof,” Dannenberg said.

Premier added 50,000 sq. ft. to the Racine plant about one year ago, doubling the size of the manufacturing space to 100,000 sq. ft. The company has moved the permanent mold casting equipment previously in the Allenton plant into the Racine expansion and added automatic finishing equipment to the plant over the past 12 months.

Dannenberg said that the company’s production totals were down 20% from 2008 to 2009 but that the company is seeing a slight rebound in volume in the first quarter of 2010.

“We started the expansion before the crash and were too far along to quit, so we followed through,” Dannenberg said. “To stay competitive, we needed to consolidate.”

Premier produces parts for the food service, construction, gasoline dispensing, turf care and transportation markets, but its main product line is pressure tight electrical castings for the circuit breaker and utility market. Having recently won its largest ever purchase order from an overseas electrical utility customer (potentially a $1 million deal), the company is now focusing on becoming an international player.

“We were actively looking to be more competitive worldwide,” Dannenberg said. “We want to do business in [currencies] other than just the U.S. dollar.”

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