Braidy Industries mill rendering

A rendering of the proposed Braidy Industries aluminum mill near Ashland, Ky. (obtained from company promotional video)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The company planning a high-tech aluminum plant in northeast Kentucky has again extended its timeline for raising $500 million from investors so that it can obtain construction loans for the project.

Braidy Industries, which hopes to build a $1.7 billion aluminum mill employing 600 people near Ashland, is now offering new stock to investors through March 31.

The company received $15 million in start-up capital from Kentucky taxpayers in 2017 as part of Gov. Matt Bevin’s effort to land the plant in the Bluegrass State.

But to build the mill, Braidy Industries still needs to raise about $500 million from investors so that it can borrow another $1.2 billion for construction, the company has said.

Braidy Industries first set Nov. 19 as the deadline for its stock sale, later extending it to Dec. 31.

In a statement dated Dec. 28, the company said it was again extending the offering to March 31 so that it can continue discussions with “a number of potential strategic investors.”

Braidy Industries also repeated previous assertions that it has “in excess of $1 billion in substantial indications of interest from various accredited parties” – referring to large or institutional investors – and that the company is “satisfied and confident” in the progress of the stock sale.

The company added that it’s “exploring merger & acquisition opportunities related to scaling its mill operations and accelerating the growth of its powder metallurgy businesses.”

Asked to elaborate, Jaunique Sealey, a Braidy Industries vice president, said in an email that Braidy Industries is looking to acquire other companies that could help its businesses grow. In addition to the aluminum mill, Braidy Industries also owns Veloxint, a company focused on creating lighter and stronger metal parts, and NanoAL, which is involved in the science of nanocrystaline technology applied to sheet aluminum.

"The market presents many options for scaling our three businesses," Sealey said.

It’s unclear how much of the $500 million Braidy Industries has raised. The company disclosed that it has $12.2 million in commitments through NetCapital, an Internet portal where everyday people can invest as little as $108 in Braidy Industries.

But the $12.2 million would not include any amounts committed directly to the company by larger investors.

Braidy Industries also took a step toward becoming a publicly traded company by filing a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has previously said it hopes to be publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange as soon as this year.

Meanwhile, Braidy Industries said it has spent $15.7 million so far in preliminary costs for the mill’s construction, such as land acquisition, engineering and design, permitting and site preparation.

The company remains on schedule to bring the mill to “full commercial operation” in 2021, it said last week.

Braidy Industries said in securities filing in September that it anticipated starting the mill in 2020.

Under the terms of Kentucky’s investment, the state could demand its $15 million back with interest if Braidy Industries fails to “invest” $1 billion in the mill by Dec. 31, 2020.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.