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Koppers considers consolidation

Updated: Friday, July 18 2014, 05:14 PM EDT
BROOKE COUNTY, W.Va. -- It's been one of Follansbee's largest employers for 100 years, but there are big questions about the Koppers plant's future.
It's not definite, but there are troubling hints in the company's talk about consolidation and having a new operation running by early 2016. It's a plan that could move one of the town's biggest employers west.
"If this were to happen, they'd be taking the Naphthalene and an acid product, they would probably take or are looking to take it to Illinois and consolidate an operation there and make it all under one roof," said John Destefano, Follansbee city manager.
The company, however, has emphasized that any decision concerning the matter is tentative and would only become final after discussion with employees and union representatives.
A statement from the company reads, in part:
"A potential plant consolidation would provide Koppers with its first full-service plant that would include coal tar distillation as well as downstream distillate and production of Naphthalene and Phthalic Anhydride. This would allow us to better serve our customers through a more consistent quality, production and delivery of product while also effectively addressing our goal of being more cost competitive."
Destefano believed if the move takes place, the facility would operate with a skeleton crew of 10-12 employees, but the effect would be felt on more than 50-plus workers the factory employs.
"Our area with industry is not the greatest as it once was, so now we're looking at potential lost revenue, not only for us but also the county," Destefano said. "With the tax base, the B&O tax, the property tax, there's a lot of things that become affected."
Destefano said that the city has not yet had any direct contact with the company about the consolidation.
He said he expected to open up conversations with them beginning sometime next week.

Koppers considers consolidation

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