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18. April 2013

USA / Germany: Steel-maker forges ahead with move to South Side - Finkl & Sons plans to complete transition by end of year

Steel-maker A. Finkl & Sons Co. is inching closer to completing its move to the South Side.

Bruce Liimatainen, Finkl's chairman and chief executive, said the move to 1355 E. 93rd St. is about 60 percent complete. The goal, he said, is to wrap up the move by the end of the year.

The new steel factory is equipped with the latest technology, improved production lines and better access to transportation and has its own electric substation. In contrast, the North Side plant, on more than 22 acres separated by city streets, depended heavily on manual labor.

The new plant will enable Finkl to boost its production fivefold, to a half-million tons of steel a year. Liimatainen said he employs nearly 400 workers to operate the two plants.

"When we grow our business, which we will because we have to, we'll have well over 500 people," Liimatainen said Tuesday during a tour of the 53-acre site. "It will take time, of course, because it depends on the markets."

Finkl is owned by Germany-based Schmolz+Bickenbach AG, a producer of high-grade steel. Finkl makes steel used globally to create molds for plastics and dies for metal casting, as well as custom-forged pieces.

To retain Finkl, Chicago offered $22.5 million from its tax increment financing fund, including $500,000 for the substation, and sold Finkl six parcels next to its South Side property for $1. The state pledged more than $7 million in tax credits and training funds


Source: Opens external link in new windowChicago Tribune

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