Outboard Marine files bankruptcy
December 25, 2000, 3:06 AM
CADILLAC, Mich. (AP) -- Outboard Marine Corp. filed for bankruptcy so it can go forward with plans to sell its boat manufacturing plant here, a company official said.
Outboard Marine, of Waukegan, Ill., shut down Four Winns Thursday and laid off 551 workers citing a poor operating performance and inability to obtain additional funding. Only a "transition" staff of 45 administrators remained at the Cadillac operation.
"I've already met with two groups and talked to two or three others who are talking to Outboard Marine's New York investment bankers about a possible sale of Four Winns," said John Anderson, president of Four Winns in Cadillac.
Outboard Marine has debts totaling 80 percent of its entire asset value. It posted serious loses through the year, primarily because of major problems in its engine division.
"Hopefully, by the first of January we'll have narrowed it down to the most serious bidders, and there is the potential for the deal to be done within a month," he told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Monday. "We can't afford not to be in the market much longer than that. We're looking to be able to open the plant before the end of (January)."
Anderson said he found the situation frustrating that Outboard Marine's crisis spilled over to harm them.
"Four Winns is the most profitable part of OMC and made more money this year than anytime since 1988," Anderson said. "Which is why this is so hard for our people here. We're doing great but the parent company is broke. We've been profitable for the last three years."
He said the permanent shutdown of all Outboard Marine operations across the country, with no advanced notice to employees just days before Christmas, was "an ugly, ugly situation," but in the end, may work out best for the Cadillac operation.
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Copyright © 2000 Detroit Free Press Inc.