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DuPont sells its Berkeley County plant

October 04, 2005|By DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. - Officials with DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprise have announced the sale of their Falling Waters plant to a private equity firm in New York that specializes in acquiring promising, smaller middle-market companies.

The sale will not affect the nearly 100 jobs at the Berkeley County plant and all the employees have accepted jobs with the new company, plant manager Max Burnham said Monday.

Burnham, who was business and operations manager for the plant, is president of the new company.

The local DuPont plant was purchased by a wholly owned subsidiary of Sentinel Capital Partners, which specializes in buying smaller companies in the U.S. and Canada in partnership with management, according to a news release about the sale.

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Sentinel has formed a company called Fasloc Inc. to hold the company, the release said.

Terms of the sale were not released.

Burnham had said DuPont was planning to sell its Falling Waters plant along U.S. 11 after determining the facility did not fit into its future goals.

Known as its Anchorage Systems business, the plant makes Fasloc, a product used to support coal mine roofs.

Fasloc involves the use of steel rods and bolts that support mine roofs. Those materials are made by another company, company officials said. DuPont makes a quick-setting grout that holds the bolts and rods in place.

The plant's assets, which include a manufacturing facility, warehouse and office buildings, were sold to Sentinel, Burnham said. The site on which the facilities are will be leased to Fasloc, Burnham said.

The remaining property will belong to DuPont, Burnham said.

The property encompasses about 1,300 acres, of which 90 percent is used as a buffer, Burnham said.

Burnham said the outlook for Fasloc is strong because the country's coal industry is prospering.

Burnham said he expects the plant's well-paying jobs and good benefits to continue "as far into the future as I can see."

The plant primarily serves coal companies in Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Burnham said.

"With Sentinel, we believe that we have an excellent fit for both the business and employees to prosper in the future," Nick Fanandakis, vice president and general manager of DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprise, said in the release. "The experienced management, manufacturing and sales teams will remain in place to assure a smooth transition process providing the same high levels of service and product quality to their customers," Fanandakis said.

The plant started in 1952 as a dynamite manufacturer. It made a variety of other explosives before getting out of the business in the mid-1980s.

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