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USW says last-minute buyer emerges for Hamilton Specialty Bar

Louisville, Kentucky — The United Steelworkers union will ask a Canadian judge on Wednesday to delay liquidation proceedings for Hamilton Specialty Bar following the 11th-hour emergence of a potential buyer that would operate the plant in Hamilton, Ontario, as a going concern, a union official said Tuesday.

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"We're working closely with a potential buyer," Tony DePaulo, assistant to USW District 6 director Marty Warren, told S&P Global Platts in an interview. "These guys came in at the last minute."

DePaulo would not identify the would-be purchaser except to insist: "They're the real deal. They're talking to customers and doing everything they have to. If this goes through, we're going to have a going concern."

At the request of HSB's court-appointed receiver, Ernst&Young, Justice J. Hainey of the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto agreed to launch liquidation proceedings for the company on March 14. HSB was placed in involuntary receivership January 8 by Wells Fargo Finance Corp. Canada after it defaulted on more than C$27.5 million in loans to Wells Fargo.

DePaulo said the USW will ask Hainey to delay any liquidation proceedings "for another week or two" to give the union and the potential buyer more time to finalize a deal.

More than 200 union members worked in the plant until recently when operations wound down.

HSB is an electric-arc mill that melts steel and makes products such as ingot and round bars, mainly for the automotive industry.

--Bob Matyi,

--Edited by Kevin Saville,