West Allis firm may be sold

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Posted by on February 17, 2006 at 06:22:21:

In Reply to: PST in Receivership posted by RealityChecked on February 17, 2006 at 00:15:12:

Pressed Steel was slated to move for development

West Allis manufacturer Pressed Steel Tank Co., which city officials have been trying to relocate to allow a large development to proceed, is under control of a court-appointed receiver who is negotiating a possible sale of the financially troubled company.

Pressed Steel, 1445 S. 66th St., was placed under receivership so proceeds from its sale can be used to help pay off the company's creditors, receiver Michael Polsky said Wednesday. Polsky has had preliminary discussions with potential buyers.

"At this point, we're optimistic we can sell the business as a going concern," Polsky said.

Robert Darling, Pressed Steel chief executive officer, couldn't be reached for comment.

The receivership proceeding was filed Feb. 8 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The proceeding is similar to a federal bankruptcy proceeding, and allows a company to obtain protection from its creditors while it negotiates with prospective buyers.

Court documents filed in connection with the receivership proceeding said Pressed Steel owes $1.91 million to various trade creditors, as well as $145,000 to lender Prairie Business Credit Inc. The company's assets have not yet been totaled, but they are less than Pressed Steel's liabilities, the filing said.

The United Steelworkers of America, which represents Pressed Steel's hourly employees, has about 35 members working at the company, down from about 100 union employees over a year ago, said Douglas Drake, a district director for the Steelworkers.

Pressed Steel, which makes compressed natural gas tanks, said in August it might lay off its employees if the company couldn't obtain additional financing to relocate to 3522 N. 35th St., within the Tower Automotive Inc. complex on Milwaukee's north side. Tower is closing its operations by March.

The company needs to relocate because the City of West Allis in December 2004 bought Pressed Steel's building, which will be razed to make way for a $60 million housing and retail development.

Pressed Steel sold its West Allis building for $500,000. West Allis also agreed to provide $2.25 million in relocation costs and a $750,000 loan to Pressed Steel to help with the move. The company also was seeking a federal grant to help with the move.

Loan is offered

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp., a non-profit business lender affiliated with the City of Milwaukee, offered a $500,000 loan to help finance new equipment and improvements at the 35th St. building.

Those equipment and building improvements, which would cost $5.3 million, also needed financing from a private lender.

The new location would allow Pressed Steel to reduce its overhead costs through changes in its manufacturing process, according to the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. The company would lease 120,000 square feet within a 200,000-square-foot building that was sold by Tower to an investors group.

Neither John Stibal, West Allis director of development, nor James Scherer, of Milwaukee's Department of City Development, could be reached for comment about the status of Pressed Steel's relocation plans.

However, Polsky said a buyer of the company would likely have to move Pressed Steel.

The Pressed Steel site in West Allis is part of 17 acres where Brookfield-based Toldt Development Inc. plans to build 658 apartments, 21 condos and 48,000 square feet of commercial space over five years. The development will be west of S. 65th St. between W. Greenfield Ave. and W. Mitchell St.

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