PDT Staff Writer
Area residents and businesses are being asked to invest in the future of the New Steel project, proposed to locate in the Franklin Furnace area. The company is seeking $500,000 for a Hatch Study, which is a comprehensive investigation of the proposed project that would be beneficial for banks and other lending institutions to look at for potential investment.
A Hatch Study looks at the product, the market for that product, the viability to make that product efficiently and market it competitively. They also look at the rate of return for investors.
“We’re going to ask people to invest in units of $10,000 each in the company to help finance the study,” Portsmouth developer Jeff Albrecht said after a meeting of business leaders Thursday morning. “The investment would earn a 20 percent dividend, with nothing paid for five years to give the operation a chance to get on its feet.”
Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser, in expressing the importance of the Hatch Study, said New Steel has already invested nearly $12 million of its own money in permits and other expenses.
“This is a way for business people and citizens to give back,” Albrecht said. “Quite a few members of the business community have expressed an interest to me in investing in this project. If we want to work for the future of industry and jobs in our area we’re going to put up our own cold hard cash.”
Albrecht said he would like to see Scioto County raise $250,000 of the $500,000, picking up some $150,000 from local businesses, and hopefully to get Lawrence County officials to invest $50,000, and to try to get Fluor/B&W to invest $50,000. Currently that scenario is speculation, but those attending Thursday’s meeting agreed it is a positive opportunity to put the finishing touches on local involvement in the future of the project.
The group is also in the process of planning a $500 per-couple dinner, and are looking into attempting to find out if those who participate in that dinner can become part of an investment club, also making them eligible for preferred stock.
Albrecht said he sees the current scenario as a three-step process, beginning with the $500,000 for the Hatch Study and to pay attorney fees and to garner the access agreement dealing with the power grid; a $500 million cash investment in the project, heavily dependent on a utilities company purchasing the excess power; and $1.5 billion to build the company.
Reiser said he believes one of the keys is Scioto and Lawrence counties working together, combining resources to work toward making the project a reality.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.