Brandt steps up with plan to save shuttered Saskatoon manufacturing facility

by Keith Powell
The former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. facility in Saskatoon.

The former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. facility in Saskatoon. — Photo courtesy Google Street View

REGINA, March 24, 2017 /CNW/ - The Brandt Group of Companies has entered into a binding agreement with US-based industrial liquidator Prestige Equipment and financial services company Hilco Global for the former Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. (MHPSC) facility in Saskatoon. The entire 22-acre parcel, located in the city's Hudson Bay Industrial area, along with its 208,000sq/ft. manufacturing facility and all of its highly specialized equipment will make the transition to local ownership for an undisclosed sum. It is believed that Hitachi has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the world-class gas turbine and wind generation equipment manufacturing facility since its construction in 1988. The plant features the largest machining and fabrication equipment in Canada and has produced power generation equipment for customers around the world, including SaskPower.

"We realized that it was critically important for us to move quickly," says Brandt President, Shaun Semple.  "When we learned that the Hitachi assets were going be broken up and sold off in spring, we had to act fast or the province would lose a world-class facility and the ability to produce large-scale green energy products.

With almost 400 workers already out of work as a result of the plant's decline and final closure in October 2016, an auction and liquidation would have assured long-term unemployment for the highly skilled local workforce. With Brandt already constructing a world-class engineering facility in Regina and looking at further expansion possibilities in that city, the Saskatoon facility presents an excellent additional opportunity for growth and diversification.

"It is our plan to reintroduce green energy technologies such as wind turbines to assist SaskPower with its mandate to diversify beyond traditional fossil fuels," adds Semple. "We will be sitting down with the provincial government, the City of Saskatoon and SaskPower to see what can be done to save this valuable asset. But, we're just getting started; there is a lot of work still to be done to guarantee a successful outcome."

The acquisition of this facility will bring Brandt's manufacturing footprint in the province to over 500,000sq/ft., split evenly between Regina and Saskatoon.

"Except for Brandt's new Engineering Centre, currently under construction, we have temporarily suspended our other expansion plans in Regina until our manufacturing future planning is complete and a number of development issues are worked out," concludes Semple.

The expected closing date for the Saskatoon deal is April 10, 2017.

About the Brandt Group of Companies

The Brandt Group of Companies - headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada - is comprised of Brandt Agricultural Products Ltd., Brandt Engineered Products Ltd., Brandt Equipment Solutions Ltd., Brandt Road Rail Corporation, Brandt Developments, and Brandt Tractor Ltd. - the world's largest privately held John Deere construction and forestry equipment dealer. Brandt has 50 locations in Canada and the US, nearly 2000 employees and a growing international audience; serving the agriculture, forestry, rail, mining, construction, and tube & pipe industries with unique custom products. Brandt is one of Canada's largest privately owned companies and is among an elite group of Platinum Members of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies

SOURCE: Brandt Group of Companies

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