Essex steel-processing plant to close next year

Worthington Industries blames steel-mill closures

December 11, 2013|By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

Worthington Industries warned state officials Wednesday that it will close its 54-employee steel processing plant in Essex next year, a move that follows the collapse last year of the nearby Sparrows Point steel mill.

"With the consolidation of the steel industry, many of the mills that previously supplied the Baltimore facility have closed, negatively impacting the supply chain there," Worthington said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. "The Company has concluded that it can more efficiently service its customers in the Mid-Atlantic Region from other Worthington facilities and processing partners."

Worthington closed another area facility, its Dietrich Metal Framing plant in Edgemere, in 2011 as part of a consolidation. That location employed 59.

The decision to close the Essex plant comes a year after the final hopes of Sparrows Point reopening were dashed. The mill's parent had earlier filed for bankruptcy, and the complex was sold to a redevelopment firm and a liquidator.

Worthington's Essex facility, at 8911 Kelso Dr., will close by May 31, according to the SEC filing. But the move could come several months earlier. The company's layoff-warning notice to state labor officials gave a closure date of Feb. 10.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company said its Essex employees could apply for jobs at other locations. Those who don't transfer will be eligible for severance payments and outplacement services, Worthington said in its SEC filing.

The company could not be reached for comment.

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