ASHLAND CEO Don Foster said he’s hoping for a fresh start by discarding the tarnished branding of Braidy Industries in favor of a new name: Unity Aluminum.
Announced Wednesday, the rebrand is part of an effort to show the company is taking a fresh approach toward the Ashland community, investors and potential customers, according to Foster.
Likening the name change to when the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in the 1990s, Foster said the new name will go along with updated numbers and information the Unity’s investment bank will take to investors.
“There’s a lot of new information and new numbers that will appeal to the investor community, so it was appropriate to put a new name out there,” Foster said. “If you remember, the name Braidy is the daughter’s name of the founder (Craig Bouchard). It’s a wonderful name and we’re happy for him, but it’s probably not an appropriate going forward.”
Alongside the new name will be a tagline stating the following: “Together, Lighter, Stronger, Greener.” A particular source of the inspiration for the rebranding is how the company has rallied despite a rocky start to the year, according to Foster.
“We looked at the challenges that we’ve gone through that have really pulled our core team together and we looked at the opportunity,” Foster said. “We have a community that wants to believe — we haven’t given them a lot of reason to believe yet. We got a state that’s supportive. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from the talent and the marketplace.”
Foster continued, “So basically going through these trials and tribulations we’ve had the reception we’re getting out in the community and the marketplace, we thought Unity would be a cultural reset for us.”
The new developments at Unity Aluminum aren’t purely cosmetic, Foster noted. Crews are busy at the site at EastPark getting under way with moving 510,000 cubic yards of soil to verify that the site is good to go for the future plant, Foster said. While the site had been mapped out, moving the soil is the next step in verifying that there aren’t any major issues, Foster said.
That process should be going through the end of December — it’s actually a little ahead of schedule, according to Foster.
In addition, a rejiggering of the plans from an engineering perspective has increased the capacity of the plant, from 300,000 metric tons to 330,000 metric tons of aluminum, according to Foster.
“That will benefit the customers and investors,” Foster said.
With “the fresh story” and numbers independently verified by three different firms, the goal is to get a “line of sight on funds” by the close of the year — by the time the deals are finalized, the company should have the cash to proceed with the next steps in the development plan by April, placing completion of the project in mid-2023, Foster said.
As far as improving relations with northeastern Kentucky, which has been rocked by economic downturn over the years, Foster said “the proof is in the pudding.”
“We reverified the engineering, we’ve retooled the finance team, we’ve hired an investment banker, we’ve started site preparation and we’ve rebranded the company, so everything we’ve said we we’re going to do that’s in our power, we’ve done or are doing,” he said.
Foster continued, “The next success factor will be how it will be received in the financial markets.”
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