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Doors to glass plant still open

PARK HILLS – The doors at The Glass Group’s Park Hills plant will stay open at least until Monday. The Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday approved extending the deadline on a loan that will finance the glass producers operations through Monday. After Monday the lender, CapitalSource Finance LLC, would have to make another loan extension if operations are to continue in the event that The Glass Group’s assets are not sold.

Judge Peter Walsh has approved the sale of the company’s Millville glass factory along with its stake in Beijing glass-producing joint venture to the Gerresheimer Group. Initially, Walsh would not sign off on the deal, however after labor unions withdrew their objections, Walsh approved the deal.

There are ongoing negotiations between The Glass Group and Austrian glassmaker Stolzle-Oberglas for sale of the Park Hills plant.

On Monday Stolzle-Oberglas submitted a “term sheet” which outlined key points of a possible deal. Under the proposal Stolzle would purchase the Park Hills plant along with other assets owned by The Glass Group.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the price offered to The Glass Group was not acceptable, according to attorneys representing The Glass Group.

“What’s going on is The Glass Group wants as much as they can get for it and Stolzle wants to pay as little as possible,” a union official said. “Negotiations are ongoing at this point. I think a deal will be made, it’s just going to take a little more time. It’s kind of like buying a house. If you are the seller you want as much as you can get and if you are the buyer you want the best deal possible.”

The union official said the workers at the Park Hills plant are business as usual.

“We have done everything we can do,” the official said. “At this point it’s up to the attorneys and the court.”

On Friday the United Steelworkers of America Local 8734 approved a five-year labor agreement with potential buyer Stolzle-Oberglas.

Union officials said the potential buyer agreed to recognize the current labor contract with a few modifications. On Aug. 29 the local plant along with the other assets owned by The Glass Group Inc. were to go on the auction block in Philadelphia, Pa.

In March The Glass Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. At the time officials said the company was filing for bankruptcy protection in order to obtain additional financing.

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