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Esmark explains delay in Yorkville restart

Updated: Tuesday, February 11 2014, 09:39 PM EST

By Jennifer Black


YORKVILLE, Ohio -- The tin-plate facility in Yorkville, Ohio, has been sitting idle for about a year and a half, and some insight on the delay of its restart was spelled out in a response letter from Esmark to Sen. Lou Gentile and state Rep. Jack Cera.

The Ohio lawmakers had sent a letter in recent weeks to Esmark, asking for additional information on what was standing in the way of getting the plant up and running.

The founder and chairman of Esmark, James Bouchard, pointed to market conditions saying in part, "We have sustained considerable losses to maintain Yorkville following the October 2012 acquisition.  But there were simply too many market and economic factors to overcome, all of which were out of our control."

United Steelworker Local 1223 president, Jerry Conners said he was surprised to see that response.

"All those issues were brought up during the initial negotiations back in 2012.  The union had brought forth the questions on supply and market conditions.  We were assured at that time through Esmark representatives, that all those contingencies were covered within their business plan, and it was something they were excited to move forward with,” Conners said.

Bouchard did reference plans to explore other options for the Yorkville facility in his letter, “Including the sale of the assets to other parties, seeking strategic partners that would provide cost competitive hot roll substrate necessary to re-start the plant,” Bouchard said.

Conners said it is encouraging to know that Esmark is at least exploring other options.

"I'm not really sure right now whether they have the wherewithal to actually do the restart as far as the expenditure.  I think if the present management structure stays as is, I’m not real sure that we're ever going to be able to restart,” Conners said.

Bouchard’s letter said that the company was eager to see a vibrant and prosperous steel production environment

Bouchard said he is eager to see a vibrant and prosperous steel production environment return to Ohio and Pennsylvania.

However, Conners said, as the mill nears the two year mark of sitting idle, his hopes are growing thin.

Esmark’s letter concludes by saying they are open to further discussion.   NEWS9 has learned U.S. Representative Bill Johnson’s office has been in constant contact with Esmark, and they too are in the process of drafting a letter to Bouchard.

Esmark explains delay in Yorkville restart

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