Future of Mitsubishi Hitachi plant uncertain after sale to U.S. financial company
Posted on February 18, 2017 in In the Media
Four months after shuttering its Saskatoon-based manufacturing division and laying off most of its employees in the city, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada Ltd. (MHPSC) has sold its sprawling 58th Street East facility — but the plant’s future remains uncertain.
Illinois-based Hilco Global, which specializes in valuing and “monetizing” assets in more than 60 countries, paid an undisclosed price for the 21-acre complex, which was listed for $19.95 million, and now has several options, according to its executive vice president.
“If we can find a going concern company that wants to buy it and run it, that looks at the facility and feels like they can turn it into something … we’ll sell it,” Gary Epstein said in an interview from the company’s Northbrook, Illinois offices.
“We’re also looking for various ways to monetize this asset now, and that could frankly be a few different things,” Epstein added, noting the property could be divided and sold in pieces, or it could be emptied of its industrial equipment and sold as land.
Hilco Global is working in tandem on the project with the Melville, New York-based Prestige Equipment Corp.
MHPSC opened its Saskatoon plant in 1988 and spent the next 28 years developing and manufacturing equipment for the power, energy and industrial sectors. Last summer, it announced plans to shutter one of its divisions, at the cost of around 150 jobs, as it restructures.
The company laid off the employees and moved its 40-person power division to a different location in the city late last year, leading North Saskatoon Business Association executive director Keith Moen to bemoan the “terrible loss of jobs.”
Although the plant’s equipment is extremely specialized, the space could eventually house one or more local or regional companies working in several different sectors, according to CBRE Ltd. vice president Michael Bratvold, who brokered the sale to Hilco Global.
“We’ve got a tremendously skilled workforce (in Saskatoon),” Bratvold said. “Having access to those workers that were there, I think it’s a great asset for anyone coming in but it’s also important for the city to find a place for those workers.”
Moen said Thursday that while the best-case scenario is for skilled jobs to remain in Saskatoon, which would help with the city’s current economic situation, economic development of any kind at the site would be beneficial.