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Blackhawk Foundry Sale, Closing Confirmed by Citation

Dec. 1, 2009
Buyer diversifies its customer base; plans to sell machining plant
Citation Corp. now confirms it has acquired Blackhawk Foundry & Machining Co.’s ductile iron plant in Davenport, IA, as reported recently. In addition, Citation has sold its own Albion, IN, machining plant to Busche Machine. Blackhawk Foundry & Machine Co. announced to its workers late last month that it had entered into a purchase agreement for certain assets and revenue, and that the transaction would lead to the closing of the green sand foundry. Citation — linked to that agreement, but not confirmed — now indicates that the 89-year-old business will close, and customer contracts and some equipment will be transferred to Citation foundries in Berlin, WI, Bessemer, AL, and Biscoe, NC, by February 2010 No value has been attached to the transaction. About 127 current workers are affected, though Blackhawk Foundry also let go nearly 100 workers earlier this year. “Our focus continues to be on further strengthening our diversification strategy,” stated Citation president and CEO Doug Grimm. “The Blackhawk acquisition further enhances our market diversification while the sale of our Albion facility allows us to concentrate on our core iron casting and machining capability.” Grimm said Blackhawk’s customers in the agriculture, energy, military, and construction markets, would expand Citation’s market range, which is now concentrated on industrial and transportation customers. The Iowa foundry was known to produce a wide range of engineered castings for components of various machines, diesel engines, conveyors, gearboxes, housings, hydraulic pumps, valves and valve bodies, and other products. Citation’s Albion plant is a machining and assembly operation, primarily for marine engine manifolds. It has CNC and other machine tools performing turning, milling, and drilling. The buyer, Busche Machine, is a local shop in Albion that machines castings and forgings, but also does bar-feeding and screw machine work. Citation did not indicate a sale price. “The Albion business fits better with Busche Machine’s principal products, markets and manufacturing footprint,” according to Grimm. “We’re accelerating our effort to concentrate on core iron casting and machining, which includes our 250,000-ft 2 Menomonee Falls, WI, facility that has 180 machining centers and employs 150 people.”