One of the largest employers in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. is now out of creditor protection and its new owners have officially taken over.
Algoma Steel Inc. announced on Friday that is has successfully completed the purchase of all the assets of Essar Steel Algoma Inc. and is no longer under creditor protection.
It had been under creditor protection for the last three years.
“When we take a look around at the domestic and international steel markets, what we see is a lot of room for growth for Algoma Steel,” Kalyan Ghosh, executive officer of the company said.
“We have a long and proud history in Canada, manufacturing 100 per cent of our products right here in Sault Ste. Marie.”
‘Positioned for growth’
The company says it is also committing to a $300 million investment in the steelworks to expand capacity and grade capability.
It also adds it plans to hire more workers.
“We are coming out of this restructuring positioned for growth, thanks in great part to the determination and professionalism demonstrated by our employees in the face of uncertainty,” Ghosh said.
The news is welcome in the community.
“It brings a lot of stability to the community and to our local economy,” Mayor Christian Provenzano said.
“It’s good for all of the employees and we think it’s good for all of the suppliers and the contractors that provide services to the company as it operates.”
The company is one of the largest steel producers in Canada and the largest employer in Sault Ste. Marie with about 3,000 employees. Provenzano says about 67,000 indirect jobs are connected to the business.
Provenzano says it’s time to look to the future.
“We have to focus on developing a really vibrant and resilient community so that as we meet challenges in the future, we’re in a better position to manage through those challenges,” he said.
“Of course I’m happy today. I’m happy for the company. I’m happy for all the employees at the company. I’m happy for all the pensioners at the company and I’m happy for the community at large.”
Mike Da Prat is president of United Steelworks Local 2251, which represents the majority of the workers. He says he’s pleased to see years of hard work pay off.
“This is a deal and a contract that is good for our members and good for our retirees,” he said.
“They can look at greater security in respect to their jobs and quite frankly, we’re happy to be out of it.”