The future of a major manufacturing facility in Manchester is uncertain after its parent company filed for bankruptcy and officials submitted mass-layoff paperwork with the state.
However, there are no imminent plans to close Exide Technologies in Manchester despite those developments, a company spokeswoman told the Telegraph Herald. The plant employs about 300 people.
“We are planning to operate our business as usual and intend for all roles and responsibilities to remain the same,” spokeswoman Melissa Floyd said in an emailed statement. “We do not know whether all of the company’s business will be sold or what the ultimate buyer’s plans for the business will be.”
Exide Technologies specializes in producing battery technology. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, and the company’s restructuring plan involves finding a buyer of its operations in North America, according to a press release.
The company also filed a notice with the State of Iowa as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act indicating that the Manchester plant would close. The state’s mass-layoff log lists the plant as “closing” with 301 employees affected and a layoff date of July 21.
But Floyd said the company currently intends to keep the facility open, though the possibility remains that it could close in the future. The WARN Act filing was required because the facility could possibly be shut down if a new buyer is not found or if the new owners decide themselves to close the plant.
“As such, we are required to send out WARN letters to all employees who work at company locations with over 50 employees,” she said.
Exide is the second-largest employer in Delaware County, behind only Regional Medical Center in Manchester.
Donna Boss, executive director of Delaware County Economic Development, said the closure of the plant would be devastating to the county.
“If it were to actually happen, it would be a terrible hit to our economy,” she said. “I am extremely hopeful that they will find a new buyer.”
In the press release announcing the bankruptcy filing, the company stated that its recent actions were an attempt to “restore the company’s liquidity, which had deteriorated further as a result of the unprecedented global health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.” It also said Exide was actively engaged with “a number of potential strategic and financial buyers.”
Days later, the company announced that it was approved by U.S. bankruptcy court to continue daily operations and that the company had secured $40 million in debtor-in-possession financing.
The next bankruptcy court hearing for the company is scheduled for Thursday, June 18.