Carriage Assets Will Go on Auction Block Feb. 9
Myron Bowling Auctioneers, Hamilton, Ohio, is advertising the “complete liquidation” of the assets for luxury fifth-wheel manufacturer Carriage Inc., scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 9 at the company’s Millersburg, Ind., headquarters.
Carriage was a venerable manufacturer known for its inventive engineering and commitment to quality, building high-end fifth-wheels under the Cabo, Cameo, Carri-Lite and Royals International brands. Auction listings include finished RVs, raw materials, brand names and equipment. (For details, click here.)
News first surfaced in mid-October that Carriage, founded by Clarence Yoder in 1969, was having financial troubles. RVBUSINESS.com reported that PNC Bank out of Indianapolis had filed suit Oct. 18 to take possession of Carriage, which reportedly owed the bank more than $5 million. The suit came a day after around 180 Carriage workers were furloughed.
The bank was demanding immediate payment of overdue loans and maintained in the suit in Elkhart County Superior Court I that Carriage owner Glenn Cushman was in default of his financial obligations to PNC Bank from as far back as September of 2009, requiring the issuance of several loan extensions.
Rick Van Es, who was hired six weeks prior to the filing at the request of PNC Bank to engineer a restructuring of the company, claimed at the time that Carriage was “blindsided” after submitting a viable turnaround plan to PNC.
“We were very much blindsided because the other thing that happened here is that the company was requested to find replacement financing for PNC,” Van Es told RVBUSINESS.com. “PNC had suggested that if the company could replace its operating line of credit – and also bring in enough money to pay down the mortgage to an 85% loan-to-value – that the bank would be happy to continue to move forward with the company.
“The company raised all the money that was required to achieve that, and we actually have not only commitment letters from those lenders, we were actually reviewing contracts and got to the point where our new lenders asked PNC for payoff letters, and PNC would not provide them. At the end of the day, what PNC said was ‘we’re not interested; we’re going to file a suit.”
After the proceedings with PNC became public, RVBUSINESS.com reported that Carriage owners and dealers rallied behind the builder.
“We’ve had an outpouring of concern from Carriage owners, 90 dealers, nothing but positive support for us, and it’s sad,” said Ed Kinney, vice president of sales and marketing for Carriage. “It affects 200 people in the community, the vendors and dealers nationwide and in Canada. Actually, we’ve got units on line right now that are supposed to be going to England, and the bank won’t work with us to make this work.”
Despite reports in local media that PNC and Carriage were close to an agreement, no deal was ever finalized.