NEW YORK Felman Production LLC has ceased operations at its New Haven, W.Va., facility for three months due to "continuous challenging ferrosilicomanganese market conditions," the company said June 28.
The company had already idled one of three electric-arc furnaces at the site this spring and started reducing its workforce in response to declining silicomanganese prices and rising manufacturing costs (amm.com, May 20).
"Since the economic and market conditions continue to deteriorate, the decision to cease operations of all of its three furnaces immediately was difficult, but inevitable. Within the next two months, Felman plans to reevaluate market conditions to determine whether operations will resume earlier or if the plant will remain closed for an additional period of time," the company added.
Despite the shutdown, Felman expects to meet its long-term contract sales commitments during this period, a company spokesman told AMM.
"However, current market conditions are unsustainable and shipments in excess of contractual commitments will not be available until improvements are seen," the spokesman said.
The companys in-house slag processing unit will remain operational, it said.
Felman, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Miami-based Georgian American Alloys Inc. (GAA), said it has notified its 211 employees of the closure, as well as vendors and customers affected by the move.
"While no layoffs are expected during the first two months of closure in compliance with laws and ongoing maintenance activities, the company anticipates working with the appropriate state and union officials to facilitate unemployment and other related benefits for those employees impacted by the decision to keep the plant closed for a longer period of time," the company said.
Silicomanganese is currently trading within a range of 52 to 53 cents per pound, according to AMMs most recent assessment, though there were reports of unconfirmed transactions below 50 cents per pound (amm.com, June 28). Prices have dropped steadily from a range of 73 to 79 cents per pound in March 2012.
"While it pains us to make this very difficult decision, after exploring a variety of options, we concluded it is no longer economically viable to operate in the current market environment," GAA chief executive officer Mordechai Korf said in a statement.
Felman Production produces about 105,000 tonnes of silicomanganese annually at its 190-acre facility in New Haven.
GAA also owns Miami-based Felman Trading Inc. and Calvert City, Ky.-based CC Metals & Alloys LLC. The company recently acquired European companies Georgian Manganese LLC and Vartsikhe 2005 LLC to bolster its silicomanganese operations (amm.com, April 22).