Canadian Manufacturing

Shuttered Fort Erie plant, victim of Ontario clean energy debacle, bought in $20-million deal.

Plant used to build wind towers before Ontario's $7-billion Samsung deal clouded energy policy

DALLAS and FORT ERIE, Ont.—Trinity Industries, Inc. will purchase property, plant and equipment of wind tower manufacturing firm DMI Industries, Inc. in a $20-million deal which includes a shuttered wind tower facility in Fort Erie, Ont.

DMI Industries, owned by investment company Otter Tail Corp., also owns approximately 665,000 square feet of heavy manufacturing capacity and equipment in North Dakota and Oklahoma.

“I am pleased with this opportunity to expand our manufacturing capacity at a very attractive valuation,” said Timothy Wallace, Trinity’s chairman, CEO and president. “These facilities are capable of producing many of the products Trinity currently manufactures, which will serve to further enhance our overall manufacturing flexibility.”

DMI had been manufacturing wind towers since 1999 and was highly touted by Ontario provincial Liberals in a February, 2011 statement lauding the manufacturer for expanding its workforce to 225 people to help meet the demand for wind towers in Ontario. The release went on to credit the Mcguinty government’s Ontario Energy Plan for helping the company.

“When it comes to manufacturing and green energy, Niagara’s DMI is a dynamic and towering example of the province’s green energy plan at work. Every single day the workers here at the plant are making our environment safer and our economy stronger,” said Kim Craitor,
MPP for Niagara Falls, said in the release.

In a unique act of foreshadowing, DMI president Steffan Nilsson said his company was an example of how the Green Energy Act brought the return of jobs and business.

“Yet we recognize our sustainability depends on long-term, stable energy policy that continues to support this new business and offers opportunities for growth and jobs.” Nilsson continued.

However, a stable energy policy never materialized, and in July 2012 the location employed only 10 workers when its parent company decided to close the doors for good.

In an interview with Bullet News Niagara, Jim Thibert, general manager of the Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Corp. said “preferential treatment” afforded Samsung, which was promised nearly $7-billion over 20 years  by the province’s Green Energy Act, was the last nail in the coffin. That deal saw the Korean Giant help establish another wind-tower manufacturer, CS Wind Canada, in Windsor, in May 2011, which  left DMI out in the cold.

“They (DMI) got screwed,”  Thibert said.

Trinity Industries, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, owns a variety businesses which provide products and services to the industrial, energy, transportation, and construction sectors.

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