Indiana County Development Corp. looks to purchase Dlubak plant property
The Indiana County board of commissioners Wednesday approved a $400,000 term loan from the county's revolving loan fund to help the Indiana County Development Corporation purchase the Blairsville plant property of bankrupt glass manufacturer Dlubak Corp.
Though another entity purchased Dlubak's business assets, the ICDC has worked to buy the real estate with the intent of leasing it back to the new operator and keeping the business in Blairsville, thereby saving the jobs of the specialty glass company's 85 employees.
“The team of commissioners would like to offer our thanks to the ICDC for taking on the ownership of the building,” said Chairman Rodney Ruddock. “This protects 85 families — not just 85 employees, but 85 families in the county — to stay where they are in their place of work and in jobs in which they have been trained.”
The commissioners approved the loan at a fixed interest rate of 2.75 percent for 180 months.
Dlubak filed for bankruptcy in August. On Monday, Grey Mountain Partners of Boulder, Colo., purchased the glass maker's business assets for $3.25 million through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's auction process.
“So, essentially the business assets, including the name, accounts receivable, equipment, work in progress — anything non-real estate-related was part of that sale,” said Byron Stauffer, executive director of the county planning office.
Grey Mountain was to have closed the deal through bankruptcy court on Wednesday.
Ruddock called the quick closing “quite impressive.”
“Those people who are currently working there will continue to work,” he said.
According to Stauffer, the terms of the deal included a three-month extension on the collective bargaining agreement with employees while also recognizing liability for vacations.
“This 90-day period will allow them to negotiate, hopefully, a long-term collective bargaining agreement moving forward,” Stauffer said.
The real estate will be treated separately, he noted. Proposed purchase of the building is still in negotiations, but Stauffer said the ICDC expects to pay anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million for the property.
“It's currently being appraised,” he said.
To complete the purchase, the ICDC would use some of its own money along with financing through a bank to be determined. The ICDC is weighing proposals from several area banks. Stauffer expects the ICDC could close on the transaction within a month to 45 days.
Stauffer noted a drop in the amount and frequency of its military contracts greatly contributed to the Blairsville glass maker's filing for bankruptcy. Dlubak has manufactured glass for Humvees, as well as bullet-proof and bullet-resistant glass for other military vehicles.
But the need for that specialized glass for military purposes has diminished in recent years.
“It was such a significant part of their business that, to try to regain that from private sector, commercial work, they just didn't have enough momentum to make that transition,” Stauffer said.
“The hope is that they'll grow it,” Stauffer added, noting that keeping the company “as is” wasn't working. “Hopefully, they'll make other investments and be able to continue to grow the business.”
Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.