Investors to buy tank-maker

West Allis manufacturer Pressed Steel Tank Co., which must relocate to allow a large development to proceed, is being sold to a new investors group led by the company's CEO and will eventually move to a smaller building, an attorney for the new owner said Friday.

PST Cylinders LLC, led by Robert Darling, Pressed Steel's chief executive, has agreed to acquire most of the company's assets and plans to move them to another site, said Timothy Nixon, attorney for PST Cylinders.

Nixon said PST Cylinders agreed to pay $700,000 for the assets of financially troubled Pressed Steel, which makes compressed natural gas tanks. That money, along with $400,000 owed to Pressed Steel by its customers, will be distributed by a court-appointed receiver to the company's creditors, Nixon said.

PST Cylinders, which is working with a South Korean investor, plans to move Pressed Steel's equipment and inventory from 1445 S. 66th St. to a much smaller building in southeastern Wisconsin, Nixon said. He said PST Cylinders would be a smaller, more specialized operation than Pressed Steel.

Nixon said several locations are being considered for PST Cylinders but declined to elaborate. He said he didn't know when the move would occur.

Pressed Steel had only about 20 employees when it ceased operations last week, Nixon said. That's down from more than 100 employees more than a year ago. He said PST Cylinders plans to hire back some of Pressed Steel's workers.

The company needs to relocate because the City of West Allis bought Pressed Steel's building in December 2004. The structure will be razed to make way for a $60 million housing and retail development.

The Pressed Steel site is part of 17 acres where Brookfield-based Toldt Development Inc. plans to build 658 apartments, 21 condos and 48,000 square feet of commercial space over five years. The development will be west of S. 65th St. between W. Greenfield Ave. and W. Mitchell St.

Toldt plans to begin the development's first phase in April, said John Stibal, West Allis' director of development. He said Toldt can do its initial construction on areas other than the Pressed Steel location.

The receivership proceeding for Pressed Steel was filed Feb. 8 in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

The proceeding is similar to a federal bankruptcy proceeding and lets a company get protection from its creditors while it negotiates with prospective buyers.

Court documents filed in connection with the receivership proceeding say Pressed Steel owed $1.91 million to various trade creditors, as well as $145,000 to lender Prairie Business Credit Inc.


From the March 25, 2006 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel