Jorgensen Forge, a Tukwila, WA, open-die forger and ring-rolling operation, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as one of three companies now owned by CE Star Holdings LLC, a company formed to buy the assets from Constellation Enterprises, which filed for creditor protection in May.
The Seattle-area plant forges low alloy and stainless grades of steel, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys, and nickel-based alloys. Production equipment includes four open-die presses and two ring-rolling mills. It also offers heat-treating and machining, and it has special capabilities for “marine shafting” as well as full testing and inspection services. Its customers are manufacturers supplying aerospace, energy, defense, and general industrial markets.
CE Star Holdings, a company formed by Constellation’s secured note-holders, bid $108 million for three former Constellation subsidiaries, Commercial Metal Forming, Zero Manufacturing, and Jorgensen Forge. It intends to operate the three businesses under those respective names.
The bankruptcy case for Constellation Enterprises remains open, and will be resolved separately.
Dennis Smith, executive chairman of CE Star, stated: “Our new company is even better positioned to provide the very best products and services to our customers, and we are very excited to build on our successful partnerships with our customers, vendors, employees and communities as we enter this new phase for our businesses.”
Smith said the creditor-protection and reorganization process accomplished a number of important business initiatives, and that CE Star will proceed “with a significantly healthier balance sheet, reduced liabilities, and improved financial flexibility.”
In May, Constellation Enterprises and four subsidiaries — Jorgensen Forge, Columbus Steel Castings, Commercial Metal Forming, and Zero Manufacturing — claimed total debts and obligations of $238 million, mostly attributable to equipment failure and lost business for Columbus Steel Castings, an Ohio foundry. The other subsidiaries’ accrued losses were attributed to cuts in U.S. defense spending.
Columbus Steel Castings was idled and closed at that time, and the assets were sold at auction in August to an industrial asset sale specialist, for $29.7 million.
Jorgensen Forge, Commercial Metal Forming, and Zero Manufacturing continued to operate after the filing. However, in July Jorgensen Forge issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act announcement for all of its 111 workers, indicating that a plan was on track for closing or long-term idling of the plant, 60 days following the notice. That would have happened in October.
However, according to president and CEO Mike Jewell, the shutdown did not take place. “Operations continued uninterrupted,” he explained in a message to FORGING.
Jewell confirmed that the plant is in operation now and all the production processes are in use. “Our current employment count is about 110,” he added, “with an additional 14 open positions.”