Local reports indicate that Pacific Steel Casting in Berkeley, CA, will close in December, ending 83 years of operation. The business produces carbon steel, low-alloy steel, and stainless steel castings up to 7,000 lb., for oil-and-gas drilling, mining and construction equipment, heavy trucks, and military equipment. It’s considered one of the largest steel foundries in the U.S., and in recent years it has employed up to 400 workers, though that number is reported to be 70 at the present time.
In a letter to the company’s employees, Pacific Steel Casting president Krishnan Venkatesan stated: “I write regretfully to inform you that Pacific Steel Casting plans to shut down its business located at 1333 Second Street, … The plan is expected to occur on December 17, 2017. We expect these plans, when finalized, to be permanent and the company’s entire operation in this location will be closed.”
Neither the company nor its ownership has detailed the particular reasons for the shutdown, though foreign competition and high costs of operation have been cited as general concerns.
PSC has been ensnared in controversy frequently: challenged by community activists and California air-quality regulators for its environmental performance; cited in a U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement audit for hiring undocumented workers; and sued by former employees who alleged payroll violations, forcing a costly settlement.
In 2014, Pacific Steel Casting filed for creditor protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, and subsequently was acquired by Speyside Capital, a private-equity group that also controls other foundries and manufacturing firms. PSC had been a family-owned and operated business until the acquisition.