|IN A NUTSHELL: AGY held a Global Customer Open Day for its AGY Shanghai Technology Company on 09/01/09.|
On September 1, 2009, I turned 47 years old. Not a particularly relevant milestone, other than I have realized that statistically I am probably past the midpoint of my stay on this planet. So I guess I better get busy and accomplish all the life goals still on my list. On September 1, 2009, AGY also held a Customer Open Day for our new facility, AGY Shanghai Technology, Co. Ltd. This event was memorable for me on several fronts.
I began working on AGY’s acquisition of Grace’s Shanghai Grace Technologies business in December of 2007. While both parties were very willing and the deal made great since for both companies, as is normal, there is always the normal “Valuation Gap” between the Buyer’s perspective and the Seller’s perspective. What started out as a normal gap, became a chasm over the following 18 months as the global economic downturn took it’s toll on the performance of the target and the liquidity of the purchaser. This deal evolved and morphed into several totally different structures throughout the process, which included more than a couple of “walk away” events. The process also involved many many trips to China and Taiwan for myself as well as the privilege of sleeping 152 nights in 2008 in the Pudong Courtyard Marriott. Needless to say, when we finally closed the transaction on June 10, 2009, I felt great accomplishment and relief.
While the facility we purchased was already world class in terms of assets and organization, we are working hard to transfer AGY technology for fine and ultra-fine yarns to the production processes in Shanghai. To this end, we have had a team of people embedded in Shanghai since early 2009 working on the technology upgrade. Because the business we bought is co-located on a campus with Shanghai Grace Fabrics (an existing large AGY customer), we have also been working hard on cutting all the organizational cords between the Fabrics business (our customer and the competitor of most of our other customers) and the Yarns business (which we purchased). AGY prides itself on being the leading global independent yarn maker in a largely integrated industry, and making it crystal clear to all of our customers that we are 100% separate from the Grace Fabrics business has been a critical initiative.
On September 1, before the China Composites Show, we personally invited the press and a number of global current and potential customers to tour our facility. We hosted customers from China, Taiwan, Japan, US and Europe. We wanted to give them a chance to see first hand the technology, operational discipline, and quality mindset present in our world class AGY Shanghai operations. I gave a brief presentation, then we took a tour of the operations, and then we treated them to dinner aboard a HuangPu River cruise (and the weather cooperated with beautiful views and comfortable weather). All customers had a great time, and we generated significant interest in purchasing from the facility.
I cannot begin to tell you the pride I felt throughout this entire event. Seeing the assets branded with AGY’s corporate identity, seeing the enthusiasm and engagement from our newest AGY employees, and seeing the favorable impressions of our global customers really filled me with pride and accomplishment. Something that took so long to negotiate and which several times seemed like it would never be completed, had finally been consummated. I could see the tangible output of my perseverance and involvement, which left me with a great deal of satisfaction.
Thanks to all AGY customers for your business and for making our Customer Open Day a success!!