CUMBERLAND, MD. -- Anew company founded by a British businessman plans to open a specialty aluminum extrusion plant here that is expected to employ more than 30 workers.

Argyle Aluminum Inc., founded by Iain H.L. Blackhurst, is to be patterned after similar companies he opened in economically depressed areas of England and Scotland, according to James B. Huff.

Huff is head of Huff Edner and Associates, a Baltimore certified public accounting company that acted as Argyle's U.S. representative and assisted in arranging financing for the project.

"This is good news for this part of the state," said Jay Gsell, Cumberland's city administrator. "It will help absorb some of the jobs lost by the recent Kelly-Springfield closing."

Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. stopped all of its tire production in Cumberland last month and laid off about 1,000 workers.

David W. Edgerley, director of the Allegany County Economic Development Co., called the establishment of Argyle another step in the county's efforts to diversify and expand its industrial base so that it is less dependent on a few large employers.

The $1.4 million project is financed by Liberty Bank of Maryland with the backing of a $604,800 loan guarantee from the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, the state's primary business financing program, The Baltimore Sun reported.

While state officials have been working with Blackhurst for more than a year, final negotiations were closed after Gov. William D. Schaefer and Economic Development Secretary Randall Evans met with the British businessman on May 22.

The meeting was part of the governor's recently concluded European economic development mission linked with a tour by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.