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Imperial Aluminum buys bankrupt plant

By Ken Bonner
The Daily Sentinel
Published July 16, 2009

Chicago-based Imperial Zinc Corporation has purchased the former Aluminum One manufacturing facility on Roy Owens Boulevard in Scottsboro.

The Scottsboro facility will be known as Imperial Aluminum - Scottsboro, LLC. It will not be opened immediately due to market conditions.

The purchase from Ohio-based Commercial Alloys was approved by an Ohio bankruptcy court earlier this month. Imperial Zinc also acquired a smelter operation located in Minerva, Ohio as part of the $1.3 million deal.

"The Jackson County EDA and the Scottsboro IDB along with our city and county officials are excited about this news," Jackson County Economic Development Authority President and CEO Goodrich "Dus" Rogers said Tuesday. "This facility was built for a specific use (metal recycling and smelting) and we are optimistic that the new owners will be back in production once the economy improves and the demand for aluminum increases."

Rogers said he anticipated the company would be similar in size and operations to Aluminum One. That facility employed approximately 70 people.

Imperial Zinc is currently operating the Ohio plant. It has a potential output of 8 to 9 million pounds while the Scottsboro facility has a capacity of 6 to 7 million pounds. Company officials told Platts Metals Week that the Minerva facility could be at full capacity by year's end.

The new owners acquired approximately 3 million pounds of aluminum. A company spokesperson told Platts that the inventory was worth "a couple of million dollars."

Imperial said it would wait until market conditions improved before opening the Scottsboro facility. It converts aluminum alloy to sell to diecasters and processes zinc scrap.

"We'd like to open (the Scottsboro plant) tomorrow," the company said in a press release. "But we're not going to jump into a market of oversupply and fight for business."

In a separate correspondence a company spokesperson said, "we hope to be back up and running by the end of this year, but production will be based on the economy."

"We welcome Imperial Aluminum - Scottsboro LLC to Jackson County. We look forward to working with them and seeing them employing Jackson County citizens," Rogers said.

Aluminum One located in Scottsboro in early 2007, operating a secondary aluminum processing and tolling facility, including the shredding and melting of scrap in the 60,000 square foot building located across the road from Polyamide High Performance, Inc. The company bought the plant from Allied Metals. It went into bankruptcy proceedings last year.

Editor's Note: This is the second in a four-part series. Tomorrow we'll look at JCEDA's Dus Rogers recruiting trip to Germany.