Keokuk Mills Gets $1.4M Boost

27 July 2016

Keokuk Mills, LLC, formerly Keokuk Steel Castings, received word Friday about $1.4 million in state assistance that will help speed the reopening of the foundry.

The plant was closed in March by the Matrix Metals-Sanmar Group.

Brad and Anne Mills of Mills Group, residents of Lee County, announced a tentative agreement in June to buy the plant from Sanmar Group.

At the time, the couple said plans were in the works to restart the foundry as soon as possible.

“The award was a real important step because it means our financial package can be finalized,” said Chief Financial Officer Kevin LeGrande. “So now the purchase can be completed.”

The project has a capital investment of $4.5 million and is expected to create 200 jobs at $14.95 per hour, which makes it eligible for $1 million in direct financial assistance and tax benefits from the Iowa Economic Department Authority’s High Quality Jobs Program.

An additional IEDA Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit Pilot Program is contributing $400,000 to assist in the Keokuk project.

The $400,000 award is in tax incentives and tax credits, according to Steve Bisenius, executive director of the Lee County Economic Development Group.

“The state has been very supportive of this project, all the way through,” LeGrande said.

The purchase of the Steel Castings plant comes complete with equipment.

“When we get in there, we need to turn the equipment on and make sure it works,” LeGrande said. “Staffing is available. People want to come back and work there. We’re hiring office staff, production and equipment staff, and several jobs are open for technicians to run sophisticated equipment.

“We’ll also need sales staff. It’s all about the sales at that point, selling steel castings work.”

LeGrande expects the foundry to be pouring steel in the fourth quarter of the year – hopefully by November.

The Millses were not available for comment Friday, but LeGrande said, “I would feel comfortable saying they’re very excited about the news.”

“This is good news for Keokuk,” Bisenius said.

He explained the IEDA award of $1 million as half forgivable loan – as long as Keokuk Mills meets the 200-job threshold – and half no-interest loan.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm from the IEDA board for this project,” Bisenius said. “They loved it.”

The Millses envision the possibility of using the Keokuk plant as an expansion option for their other companies, and expanding the location through other acquisitions.

They already have consolidated four businesses into two larger manufacturing plants in Earlville.


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