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Message: Another Aboriginal Partnership

Another Aboriginal Partnership

posted on Nov 03, 2008 05:32PM

News from CNW Group

Empire Industries Ltd. and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation acquire Fort McMurray-based Lemax Machine & Welding

07:00 EST Monday, November 03, 2008

FORT MCMURRAY, AB, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: EIL) ("Empire"), a provider of steel fabrication and installation services and specialized engineered products and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Holding Corporation ("ACFN") announced that, through their joint ownership of Sorge's Welding Ltd., they have acquired Lemax Machine & Welding ("Lemax") based in Fort McMurray, Alberta, for $1.2 million plus working capital. The acquisition, which closed on November 1, 2008, further expands Empire's and ACFN's innovative Aboriginal partnership formed in August of this year, whereby Sorge's Welding is 49% owned by Empire and 51% by ACFN.

"This acquisition is particularly strategic to Empire as we look to balance our participation in the non-residential construction sector in Western Canada with increased participation in one of the most robust industrial maintenance and service markets in North America," said Guy Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Empire Industries Ltd. "There continues to be significant market opportunities in Western Canada and this is especially true when it comes to the Fort McMurray area. Lemax strengthens our position to capitalize on the high demand for maintenance services in the region."

Collin Werner commented, "Our family felt the timing was right and a natural progression for us to move Lemax to the next level by combining our business plan with the similar but larger scale one of Empire's and ACFN's." Lee Werner, who will stay on as general manager, also commented, "Empire's and ACFN's long term commitment to retain all the employees was a major factor in our decision to proceed with the sale."

"ACFN is committed to ensuring they participate in the long-term economic benefits being generated in North Eastern Alberta and the acquisition of 51% of Sorge's Welding this summer and Lemax Machine & Welding are both excellent examples of how we can achieve our goal," said Graeme Ramsay, CEO of the ACFN Business Group.

About Lemax Machine & Welding

Lemax was established in 1981 and operates a full service machine shop, welding, plate and steel fabrication facility in Fort McMurray, Alberta. In addition, Lemax provides an extensive variety of onsite and field machining maintenance services. Owners Collin and Linda Werner as well as General Manager Lee Werner have developed the company over the past 27 years to become the largest machine shop facility in the region. Lemax has been able to accumulate a large customer base in the area and with its commitment to service, reliability, safety, quality and integrity, it is positioned to continue to grow rapidly as the burgeoning maintenance business in the Ft. McMurray region. Lemax's revenue for its most recent fiscal year was $4 million.

About Sorge's Welding Ltd.

Sorge's Welding was founded in 1989 as an Aboriginal controlled, certified steel fabricator and field installation contractor based in the Fort McMurray region of North Eastern Alberta. Business operational principles for all work performed by Sorge's Welding are; safety, reliability, quality and unparalleled service. Empire Industries Ltd. became a 49% partner of Sorge's Welding Ltd. at the end of 2006. The ACFN Business Group acquired 51% of Sorge's Welding in July 2008. This innovative partnership brings expanded capabilities and depth of product and capacity to Sorge's Welding.

About Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

The ACFN reserve lands are located on the southwest shore of Lake Athabasca. The First Nation offices are located in Ft. Chipewyan, Alberta approximately 200 aerial miles from Ft. McMurray, Alberta. Ft. Chipewyan is Alberta's oldest continuous European settlement dating back to 1788 when the North West Company established an outpost there. The ACFN Holding Corporation owns controlling interests in a number of businesses including; Denesoline Environment, Tech Sonic Services, Chip Manufacturing, Dene West, Poplar Point Camp Services and AC&T Civil Contractors.

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