The process of selling Cameron’s centrifugal compression division is “moving forward,” said Charles Sledge, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the Houston-based company. Sledge briefly commented on the topic in a Thursday conference call with analysts. Cameron has previously said it wants to sell the division by year’s end.
Meanwhile, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency has scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday July 30 in Cheektowaga Town Hall about Cameron’s planned investment. The ECIDA will consider sales tax breaks for the project, which is not expected to add new jobs.
Cameron earlier this year cut hourly and salaried jobs in the face of a slowdown in production. The company designs and makes air and gas compressors for applications including industrial plants around the world.
In its application to the ECIDA, Cameron said its investment will unfold in two phases. The first phase will make it possible for the plant to operate two existing test stands for its products at the same time. The work includes expanding a substation and providing infrastructure for future expansion. Cameron says that phase was already approved for $2.6 million in capital expenditures and is in the design stage.
The second phase involves upgrading one of the test stands and adding a cooling tower. That phase, estimated at $3.9 million, is awaiting approval by corporate officials.
“This project allows the facility to stay competitive in the marketplace by improving test productivity, which will improve on-time shipments to customers,” Cameron said it in its application. It expects to finish the work in August 2015.
The company’s application to the ECIDA offers a glimpse of Cameron’s economic impact.
Cameron says it has 584 employees at the Broadway plant, plus 35 employees at 300 Airborne Parkway, for a combined 619 workers. Its local annual payroll is $47.3 million.
The documents list Praxair, Linde, Air Liquid and Air Products as among the plant’s major customers. And the plant purchases 33 percent of its annual supplies, raw materials and vendor services from firms in Erie County.
Cameron has not identified potential buyers for its centrifugal compression division, but GE, Siemens and Samsung are believed to be among the interested parties.
Cameron recorded second-quarter net income of $233 million, up 66 percent from a year ago. The company recently completed selling its reciprocating compression division to GE for $550 million.