By BETH SERGENT
Point Pleasant Register
APPLE GROVE, W.Va. — After days of rumors and speculation, the Mason County Commission received written notification M&G Polymers would be ceasing production activities.
In a letter dated Sept. 21, M&G Polymers USA LLC wrote:
“Pursuant to the WARN Act, M&G Polymers USA LLC …regrets to inform you that, absent obtaining access to additional funding and liquidity, it will be forced to cease production activities..”
The letter went on to say, the affected employment site was the Apple Grove plant “where cessation of production activities will occur.”
The letter continued: “At this time, we anticipate only required resources necessary to maintain the security of the site to remain employed past the notice period.”
When it came to that notice period, the letter explained: “The company expects the date of the first separations from employment to begin sixty days from the date of this notice or within two weeks thereafter.”
All employees are affected, the letter also stated.
The Point Pleasant Register reached out to the company’s corporate communications department, inquiring as to how many employees this would affect and further explanation regarding the ceasing of production activities.
A statement from communications representative Terry Tyzack said:
“M&G Chemicals is facing financial difficulties and is working closely with its lenders to address the situation. However, these circumstances require the Company to reduce its operating costs and plant construction activity. As such, certain areas of the business will be affected including Corpus Christi, Apple Grove and the Sharon Center.”
On Monday, Mason County Commission President Tracy Doolittle released the following statement, speaking for herself and County Commissioners Rick Handley and Sam Nibert: “I want the employees of this facility and the people of Mason County to know, that I will do everything humanly possible to keep this facility open.”
Doolittle said she, along with Handley and Nibert, would be connecting with state and federal representatives, to see what can be done.
“I will be working closely with these people, including Mason County Development Authority Director John Musgrave, in the coming weeks,” Doolittle said. “I can assure the people of Mason County that I will do everything in my power to stop this tragic loss of jobs and opportunity for Mason County.”
According to Doolittle and County Administrator John Gerlach on Monday, M&G Polymers has paid $370,000 in taxes to the county, during the first half of the year. Of that amount, nearly 77 percent is allocated to Mason County Schools, the county’s largest employer. Doolittle pointed out this ceasing of production activities is multi-layered, and not only affects the M&G employee directly, but the citizens of Mason County with this loss of tax revenue. She also pointed out the many local organizations which are the beneficiaries of donations from M&G Polymers. The company recently held its annual golf tournament to benefit Crosslight of Hope, raising over 12,000 for the ministry which provides food, clothing and basic needs for families in southern Mason County.
Also on Monday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R) released the following statement to the Register about the situation: “I am deeply disappointed to learn that the M&G Polymers Plant is ceasing operations. During my visit there in April, it was clear that they were leading the way in product innovation, much to the credit of their hardworking and loyal employees. This closure will be felt by the surrounding community, and it is imperative that we all work together going forward to attract new businesses to Mason County.”
Capito’s staff has also been in touch with the plant manager at M&G Polymers regarding the recent news, according to a spokesperson for the senator.
U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins (R) released the following statement to the Register concerning the news:
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the potential job losses at M&G Polymers, and my heart goes out to all of the employees and families affected. I’m reaching out to the company to discuss the plant’s future and urge them to reconsider. West Virginians are hardworking, loyal and dedicated employees, and I will continue to work with our local and state officials to support our existing businesses and to attract new industries and companies to our state.”
Delegate Jim Butler (R) had this to say on the news:
“I am very sad and disappointed to hear of what M&G Polymers is calling a ‘cessation of production activities’ announced today (Monday) in a letter to the Mason County Commission. I am surprised by this announcement since, other than a Facebook message yesterday, I received no previous information to indicate that this was even a consideration.
This is a devastating blow to the men and women who work there, and their families, as well as the entire community. I am going to inform our State Senators, and the Governor of this announcement, as well as our entire Congressional Delegation including, Senator Capito, Senator Manchin, Congressman Jenkins, Congressman Mooney, and Congressman McKinley, who I already have appointments to meet with next week. Those meetings were previously arranged to discuss Homeland Security issues, but I will include a discussion of this plant closing, and any measures that we may be able to take to persuade M&G Polymers to continue operations in Apple Grove, to the agenda.”
M & G Polymers USA, LLC manufactures polyester resins. The company also manufactures synthetic resins, plastics materials, and non vulcanizable elastomers.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.
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