A Searsport chemical company has transitioned into an employee-owned firm.

GAC Chemical, which has operated a chemical company on the shores of Penobscot Bay for 21 years, announced Monday that owner James A. Poure was selling his ownership in the business to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Poure intends to retire.

Employees became vested in the company on June 24, a day after the transaction closed.

GAC Chemical manufactures and distributes industrial, specialty and fine chemicals, and offers chemical processing and manufacturing services at its 150-acre facility and rail terminal.

CEO David Colter said the transaction keeps the company intact and in Maine.

“Our founder had the option to do this internally or go outside, and he chose not to go outside,” said Colter.

“I think he finds it gratifying to think everything will stay in Maine and if there were an outside buyer, it’s possible an outside buyer would take pieces of the company and move it.”

The transaction was accomplished with the help of Bar Harbor Bank and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

GAC Chemical Corp., formed in 1979 as General Alum & Chemical Corp., has operated the Searsport facility since purchasing it in 1994 from Delta Chemical.

The facility has a history dating back to the 1920s as an expansion of the Summers Fertilizer Co. of Baltimore.

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