Metals company to buy L.E. Smith Glass Co.

A 111-year-old metal fabricating company has agreed to buy 97-year-old L.E. Smith Glass Co., one of the few remaining glass factories in the United States.

Pittsburgh Annealing Box Co. of McKeesport has signed a definitive sales agreement for the Westmoreland County glass plant, about 35 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, which has produced everything from lighting fixtures to tabletop accessories since 1907.Terms of the deal weren't released.

The glass plant shut down June 30, idling 57 workers, after high gas prices, foreign competition and a poor economy scuttled talks with a potential buyer, officials with Boston-based L.E. Smith Glass said then.

Ohio-based Sky Bank then sued, saying it was owed $4.6 million because the glass plant defaulted on a loan. A court-appointed turnaround firm in mid-August brought about 30 workers back to make glass products for some core customers while the bank shopped around for a buyer.

The new deal must be approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge, but Pittsburgh Annealing president William Kelman and Sky Bank officials are optimistic that the deal will close within 60 days.

"We're evaluating all kinds of things. But nothing is insurmountable at this stage, based on information we've received so far," Kelman said.

"We knew we would not get everything back that we put in, so we priced this so someone could come in, run the plant and, hopefully, prosper," said Curtis Shepherd, senior vice president of marketing for Sky Bank.

Kelman's company has had preliminary talks with the United Steelworkers locals that represent the L.E. Smith workers. Striking a new contract is a "priority" for the sale to go through, Kelman said.

600450 Metals company to buy L.E. Smith Glass Co.

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