Cargo trailer manufacturer Pace America may close its manufacturing facility in Middlebury, Ind., potentially costing 150 workers their jobs, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Pace American Inc. notified the state of the possible closing late last week, saying it is in the process of selling its business operations and assets.
“While it is our hope that Pace American’s business operations will continue without interruption throughout the sale process, we believe there is a possibility that this sale may force [the company] to close the facility,” CEO Jim Tennant wrote in a letter to the State Department of Workforce Development.
If the northwestern Indiana plant closes, the decision is likely to be permanent, he wrote. Pace American’s facility employs 118 hourly and 32 salaried workers. The company has other facilities in Texas, Utah, Georgia and Oregon.
The closing would be another blow for Elkhart County, where 14.1% of the work force was unemployed in April, the last month for which state statistics are available. Its unemployment rate is the highest in Indiana and last year reached nearly 20% to lead the nation, drawing the attention of President Barack Obama.
Last week, Industrial Opportunity Partners (IOP), a private equity firm based in Evanston, Ill., surfaced as a “stalking horse” in the sale of assets of Pace American Inc.
A June 15 “Article 9″ auction has been scheduled in Chicago to sell the assets of Pace American, but IOP has submitted a bid in advance of the auction, making it the “stalking horse” in the proposed sale. The value of its bid was not revealed. IOP will become the new owner of Pace American’s assets, unless another firm comes forward and submits a bid of at least $750,000 higher than IOP’s, according to a notice publicizing the sale.
The deadline to submit a bid is 1 p.m. EST Friday (June 11).