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Still no news. This is interesting..

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apostle1313   Friday, 05/30/08 03:10:43 PM
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Still no news. This is interesting..

Apr 09, 2008
What’s going on with the Aero Defence project?

Ever since company president Paul Colacci made the announcement last January that his company was negotiating with Cequent Towing officials to buy the former Hidden Hitch plant, there has been little visible progress regarding the venture.

Plans were to turn the former automotive towing parts manufacturing plant into a facility that would create a variety of armored vehicle types and styles for homeland security and first responder markets such as police departments, strategic sites, border patrol and ambulances.

It was expected that manufacturing operations would begin this April and the new company would hire 50 people immediately with plans for the workforce to double before the end of the year. Hiring was expected to start at the end of February with orientation and training to begin in March.

Now it appears that the project may be in jeopardy as the parent company Aerofoam Metals Inc., has apparently suffered an economic setback.

The company announced in an April 3 press release that “it is considering its strategic options including either the winding up of business operations or a conditional offer from a private group, that includes current management, to buy all outstanding shares of the company at $0.05 US per share in a going private transaction.”

The release goes on to say that Aerofoam Metals has been unable to achieve its operational and financial objectives partly as a result of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspend trading order action against the company on June 13, 2007.

“Although the SEC released the company from that action on Feb. 6, 2008 the negative perceptions created by the order have hindered the company in its attempts to raise additional investment capital through the public markets and execute on its operational business plans,” the release stated.

The company goes on to say that the offer from the private group is conditional on obtaining financing, certain conditions that must be met by Aerofoam and the requisite regulatory filings and approvals being completed. The transaction, if approved, would be expected to close within the next six months.

This newspaper has regularly attempted to contact Colacci and Aeroform officials about their plans for the plant since the January announcement. To date no phone calls have been returned.

Claude Doughty is also waiting on a call from Aerofoam officials about their plans for the plant. The Huntsville mayor is frustrated at the lack of communication and apparent progress, saying that he is doubtful about the future of the project.

“I am pretty dubious about the chances of them coming forward. I haven’t been able to get any response. Given the timelines when they were first announced I am just not at all positive about this,” he said.

“Hopefully I am wrong. Hopefully they will turn it around but when you look at (the press release) I have really strong concerns. “

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement is one area official who has had communications from Aerofoam in the past few months since the announcement.

In an interview Monday from Calgary, Clement said Aerofoam representatives had told his office on Friday that the plans for the Huntsville operation were moving ahead.

However, since then, Clement has received the April 3 press release and now he has his own concerns about the project.

“I am hoping that everything is okay with them. But I guess the proof will be in the pudding. I did not talk to them (myself) but they assured they are still interested in Huntsville and they intend to move into the Cequent plant. I don’t know what that means but that is what they said.

“In this job you have to remain optimistic. I am concerned and I hope this will still transpire but I guess we will have to wait and see. I will keep my fingers and toes crossed,” he said.

In the meantime, resumes from prospective employees for the Aero Defence plant sit at the YMCA Employment Centre in Huntsville while officials wait for word from the company as to when they might be collected.

Nancy West of the employment centre said her group was initially asked by the town and Aero Defence representatives to receive the resumes soon after the January announcement by Colacci.

“I told the representative (from Aero Defence) that we can do job fairs and give you interview room space. They told us that collecting resumes would be a good start. They sent us the job descriptions and we have been collecting resumes since then. To date we have not received word as to when they will pick them up,” she said.

West would not say how many resumes the centre collected.

Doughty said the town is not going to sit back and wait for news from Aerofoam. He said he will work with the federal and provincial members to see if we can find another firm to come in and take over that operation.

“We can start look for other firms to go into there and in the meantime if they get their stuff together and make things happen, great. But I don’t think we can sit back any longer and wait for a phone call. They have to step up to the plate and I haven’t see that,” he said.

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