GM Supplier Trimag Seeks Bankruptcy

June closing scheduled for Quebec magnesium diecaster


Trimag L.P., a magnesium diecaster in Boisbriand, PQ, is seeking creditor protection under Canada’s Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, and intends to cease operations in June 2009. The decision follows the loss of its major customer General Motors Corp., to which Trimag had supplied nearly all of its high-pressure diecastings. GM cancelled its business with Trimag due to low automotive demand.

The plant has been idle since late last year, displacing 160 workers. Trimag closed an Ontario magnesium diecasting plant in 2007.

Trimag is majority owned by another Quebec company, Spectra Premium Industries. The remainder is held by an economic development agency, Investissement Quebec.

The company was established in 1995, and acquired in 2001 by Socit de Dveloppement du Magnsium, a partnership of three institutional investment firms.

The closing reportedly leaves GM with just one source for magnesium diecastings. The automaker buys magnesium alloys from U.S. Magnesium L.L.C. and supplies it to diecasters like Trimag. According to reports, GM now will have just one supplier of magnesium diecastings.

"The company has made a commitment to respect the collective agreement in its entirety,” stated local United Steelworkers representative Denis Lvesque. “This means that workers have the right to their severance pay, vacations, defined benefits pension plan, as well as other negotiated benefits. We want to explore all possible avenues to re-launch the company. Quebec continues to lose good jobs. We need to react."

Lvesque said the union is anxious to “explore all possible avenues to re-launch the company.”

Another labor representative, Bruno Cyr, emphasized that the workers are not responsible for the closing, and that GM’s increasing demands compromised Trimag’s flexibility to develop new lines of business. “The company invested C$10 million in 2008 and attempted to diversify in an effort to reduce its dependence on the automotive industry, but was unsuccessful,” according to Cyr. “Experts cannot even predict what's going to happen over the next three years in terms of magnesium. However, Trimag is not planning on dismantling the plant. GM will recover its matrixes and software. The plant's equipment will remain on-site and it's a new building."

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