Allied Titanium hits financing hurdles on way to Sequim expansion

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Allied Titanium has secured a machine to do some of the manufacturing work it plans for a location in Sequim, but it is facing difficulties getting banks to finance the expansion bid the company and city said would bring as many as 150 jobs to the area.

“We've been operating in China for years; we're a 7-year-old company. But banks in the U.S. are looking at us as if it's a brand-new business that's just starting up, which makes it tough to get funding,” said Christopher Greimes, CEO of the Delaware-based company.

A month ago, the company announced plans to set up production lines for some of the 93,000 products it makes out of titanium on 5.5 acres of land it bought last December at 1400 E. Washington St.

Titanium is a strong, low-weight metal that is resistant to corrosion and is used regularly in the military and the aerospace and marine industries.

Allied Titanium makes a variety of products made out of the metal, from nuts, bolts and washers to pipe fittings, kitchen utensils and even jewelry.

Initially, Greimes said the company will be able to make about three-fourths of those products in Sequim, employing as many as 150 people.

With difficulty getting business loans to purchase machinery it needs to make those products, that expansion may be delayed.

“This doesn't necessarily change what we're going to do,” he said.

“We just have to get a little more creative about finding financing and are going to have to self-finance more than we thought.”

He has hopes of finding a “strategic investor” to help foot the $3 million the company needs to set up shop in Sequim.

“It's frustrating, because I can walk into any car dealership — any car dealership — and walk out with a new car,” he said.

“But trying to get a machine that will actually make something, essentially spit out money, is like pulling teeth.”

Currently, Allied Titanium has eight people working in sales, quality control and distribution.

Production will still begin on some lines, as Greimes said the company was able to get a lease on a waterjet cutting machine that it will use to manufacture marine equipment and basic hardware products once it can get enough electricity to the site.

“The (Clallam) PUD's working on that now,” Greimes said.

“We really want to get up and running, because the basic moral of this story is until we start making money manufacturing, no bank's going to give us money to manufacture products.”

Allied Titanium has eight factories that are actively operating in China.

Greimes did say the company was contacted by several people looking for jobs after announcing Sequim as its Western U.S. headquarters in May, but has not yet made any hires.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 30. 2014 8:18AM
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