Canadian Manufacturing

N.S. metal fabricator has no ‘immediate’ plans to close down

DSME, a subsidiary of Korean-owned Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Ltd., is struggling to find new projects and investment

HALIFAX—An official with a metal fabrication plant that employs up to 100 people in rural Nova Scotia says the company has no immediate plan to leave the community, despite speculation on its future.

DSME Trenton Ltd. says in a statement that it is trying to find a third investor in the plant in Trenton.

The provincial government has a 49-per-cent stake in the operation.

The company says it is actively seeking new projects and has been approached by large wind turbine manufacturers in recent weeks, companies in the oil and gas sector, and firms in the steel fabrication sector.

On Thursday, Premier Stephen McNeil said the government was told the company is looking for new contracts or a buyer for the plant, but it hadn’t heard anything more.

A media report this week said the company was selling off inventory in anticipation of a shutdown.

In its statement, the company says it was addressing news and rumours about DSME Trenton pulling out of Nova Scotia.

“There is potential for new projects in all industries and DSME Trenton continues to be optimistic,” it says.

“When entering new industries, challenges are faced and thus DSME Trenton is working to find a third investor in the plant to create more opportunity. It is not in the immediate plan for the company to leave its Trenton home and business will develop to offer further well-paying jobs in the community.”

Business Minister Mark Furey said he also wasn’t aware of any plans to shutter the facility, adding that the province has a representative on the board of directors who is made aware of the day-to-day operations.

He said he didn’t believe the company was selling off inventory, adding that a cleanup was being done at the plant which may have involved old steel being removed.

There are protections in place for ensuring equipment at the plant isn’t removed without some compensation going to the province if it closes, Furey said.

The province’s former NDP government announced it was taking a 49 per cent equity stake in the plant in 2010 as part of a $90-million refit of the former TrentonWorks railcar plant after it was bought by DSME, a subsidiary of Korean-owned Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Ltd. The province committed $60 million to the enterprise.

The plan was for DSME Trenton to eventually develop the capacity to produce 250 wind turbine towers and 200 blade sets per year.

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