News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 27, 2009

Aleris closing, cutting 50 jobs

TERRE HAUTE — Aleris Blanking and Rim Products plant at 500 S. Ninth St. is closing permanently, eliminating 50 jobs.

The company, owned by Aleris International Inc., in an official notice to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development on Tuesday said that while an “exact closing date is not yet known, we anticipate that the closing will occur on May 23.”

“No bumping rights exist for these affected employees and none of them are represented by a union,” the company said in its WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice.

John Poehlein, company director of human resources, declined comment, referring questions to Aleris’ headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. A company spokeswoman contacted the Tribune-Star asking that questions be provided via e-mail, but she did not immediately respond Thursday.

Aleris is located in the former Specialty Blanks plant in Terre Haute, which was first purchased in 1997 by Ormet Corp. Aleris International Inc. bought the plant from Ormet in 2001.

Aleris is a major U.S. manufacturer of rolled aluminum products and is a global leader in aluminum recycling and the production of specification alloys. The company on Feb. 12 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to obtain more than $1 billion in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

On March 13, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approved the DIP credit financing — which includes a $500-million term loan and $575 million in revolving credit to pay for normal operating and working capital needs, according to the company’s Web site.

Aleris in December permanently closed a facility in Tipton, affecting 55 jobs. The company in April 2008 also permanently closed a facility in Shelbyville, Tenn., affecting 70 jobs.

The company reported total assets of about $4.9 billion and total liabilities of about $4.2 billion as of Sept. 30, 2008.

A WARN notice is part of a federal law that offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs.

Howard Greninger can be reached by phone at (812) 231-4204 or by e-mail at howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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