Waupaca foundry to be sold

The Waupaca Foundry in Waupaca

WAUPACA - For the second time in two years, Waupaca Foundry, Inc. is being sold.

Hitachi Metals, Ltd., a company based in Japan, is looking to take ownership.

The deal was finalized in the middle of the night, 1:15 a.m. Waupaca time.

"The foundry has been sold to Hitachi Metals. It was announced at 3:15p.m., Tokyo time," said Gary Gigante, Waupaca Foundry, Inc., President and CEO.

The $1.3 billion deal will include six foundries in three states. Nearly 4,000 employees in all, including 1,700 workers in Waupaca.

Gigante says the company's name will stay the same, and the headquarters will remain right here.

"That's the good news. It doesn't affect the people here at all. The transaction will be totally seemless, for employees, for the customers, for our suppliers, and the city of Waupaca," said Gigante.

The foundry is the area's largest employer.

"In one way or another, more than 50% of the people are touched by the Waupaca Foundry," said Brian Smith, Waupaca Mayor.

Smith says that leads to a strong local economy.

"It's probably why we have one more grocery store. We have three more convenience stores. We have more liquor stores, and we have more entertainment in our community," said Smith.

This is the fourth time the foundry has been sold in its nearly 60-year history. The investment firm KPS Capital Partners, LP, bought the foundry just two years ago. Gigante says the foundry was able to compete under KPS, but he says this sale will allow Waupaca Foundry to go international.

"Hitachi has a very strong company they're acquiring in Waupaca Foundry. Together, I'd say with Hitachi's global reach, I think that really creates a powerhouse going forward," said Gigante.

Gigante says the foundry doesn't plan to hire more workers because of the sale, but he says the company's five-year goal includes expansion at all six facilities.

All parties still need to close on the deal. That is expected to take a couple of months.