Smith Glass assets acquired

A Pittsburgh businessman has acquired substantially all of the assets of L.E. Smith Glass Co. in Mt. Pleasant, and apparently plans to buy the building and land at sheriff's sale in Westmoreland County next month.

William A. Kelman bought the assets of Smith Glass late Friday, including equipment, inventory, machinery and receivables. Kelman did not disclose the purchase price.

"We have some exciting times ahead of us. L.E. Smith has top-tier clients who are delighted that we will once again be producing for them. The order book is strong, and getting stronger," Kelman said.

Kelman said he formed a new company, Port Augustus Glass Co. LLC, to acquire the glassmaker's assets. He said the new company is named after a town in his native Scotland.

"I'm ecstatic. This was a very hard deal to get financed by a buyer. It took a lot of creativity and initiative to pull this together," said Mark DuMars, president of Inglewood Associates, based in Mt. Lebanon, Allegheny County. DuMars was appointed in July as a receiver, or administrator, of the Smith Glass business by U.S. District Court Judge Terrence McVerry.

In November, Kelman signed a purchase agreement to buy Smith Glass, preserving nearly a century of glassmaking history at one of the last hand-molded glass factories in the United States.

Yesterday, Kelman said plans are in the works to add new products, and perhaps diversify the business. "You will also likely see the acquisition of complementary businesses in the near future," said Kelman, who declined to identify potential acquisition targets.

In the past, Smith Glass' clients included Williams-Sonoma, a high-end kitchen retailer, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Smith Glass products, which included crystal bowls, tureens and tabletop accessories, also were seen in catalogs for Bloomingdale's, Spiegel, Restoration Hardware and Neiman-Marcus.

DuMars said the deal includes provisions for the new company to acquire the Smith Glass building and more than 10 acres in Mt. Pleasant Township at a sheriff's sale next month.

Kelman declined to comment on the sheriff's sale.

In July, Sky Bank filed a federal suit against Smith Glass, claiming the manufacturer defaulted on a loan. Sky Bank said one loan was for $3 million in October 2000, and a second loan totaling $2.01 million dated Aug. 23, 2003.

Sky Bank said Smith Glass delivered an open-end mortgage and security agreement to secure repayment of the loan in October 2000. On Nov. 1, 2004, a $4.58 million judgment was entered against Smith Glass, according to court papers.

Glassmaking ceased at Smith Glass on June 30 after 11th-hour talks to find a buyer collapsed, putting 57 employees out of work. However, by mid-August, 30 to 35 workers were brought back to make glass on a limited basis to preserve core customers.

600450 Smith Glass assets acquired
Date: 19 January 2005

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