PDT Staff Writer
New Steel International CEO John Shultes, in an exclusive conversation with the Daily Times, said the steel fabricating project proposed for Franklin Furnace is moving forward, one step at a time.
“We are making progress, and frankly its getting better,” Shultes said. “We just need to keep doing it, and eventually we’ll get there.”
Bill Dingus of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation said the final $60,000 has been applied to the monies needed to complete the required Hatch Study, which is the report looked at by financial institutions as they consider investing in projects. The cost of the study is approximately $500,000, and local individuals came up with $200,000 of the money.
“We did make a way that New Steel could get an additional $60,000. We went ahead and provided that for them,” Dingus said. “That will completely pay for the balance of that Hatch Study and will help with additional reports and studies needed to move this project forward.”
Daniel Shultes, of New Steel, told a meeting of local business, labor and education leaders at the Holiday Inn Thursday morning that additional information is needed, even after the study itself. That information has to do with major investors at least endorsing the viability of the project.
“Eleven chapters of 12 chapters are complete,” Portsmouth area developer Jeff Albrecht said. “And the final chapter is the actual review of their budget to determine if the project can be profitable, and, if so, how profitable it will be. And that’s really the key chapter for the financing opportunities. The first 11 chapters are on the technical matters and the resources available, and at what cost. The first 11 chapters are complete, and it’s very favorable for the project, and it looks good. So the money that Lawrence County and Scioto County came up with, the $60,000, to pay for the entire Hatch Study, the last two chapters were added because the financing people have requested information on the budgets and on the profitability.”
Dingus gave an in-depth description of the difference in chapters 11 and 12.
“The Hatch Study talks about feasibility,” Dingus said. “But they do need to have someone expressing some letters of intent, such as, if certain things would happen, we feel that this would be a viable thing, and that we might be interested. Its not a committment, these letters, but it’s important that major international corporations express a willingness to consider it. I think that moves the project to a whole new light.”
John Shultes said the study was made possible by the people in Scioto County having confidence in the future of the project.
“This was great, absolutely,” Shultes said. “I couldn’t thank the community more for all the support they are giving us, not only financially, but also morally, because we realize that this is a huge project for the community. They all have been very supportive. Having that phase of the Hatch Study done will be a great step forward. Now we need to serve it back to the people in Columbus, ‘So this is what you’re asking for. What next?’”
New Steel leaders will be traveling to Europe next week essentially to talk about financial support. One of the companies they will meet with is international giant Siemens. Siemens is a global powerhouse in electronics, electrical engineering, and other industries.
“First of all we need to work on this study that the governor wants to see, and that’s sort of the main purpose of my trip, and a couple of other things that we are working on,” Shultes said. “Andy (Glockner) and (former Scioto County Commissioner) Tom Reiser are still helping us as they always have. So I think, between what we have already done, and what they are finishing up, and what we are starting to do again in Washington, we’ll get there. All I can say is, we’ll get there.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org