The Lane County , Oregon commissioners agreed Wednesday (May 12) to provide around $750,000 worth of assistance to the Country Coach subsidiary of National RV Holdings Inc. to help pay for improvements to the road leading to the Country Coach plant in Junction City.
The road improvements are expected to cost around $1 million, but Country Coach executives recently told Lane County officials they couldn’t afford to pay more than the $247,500, according to The Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore.
During a conference call with investment analysts about three weeks ago, National RV Holdings President and CEO Brad Albrechtsen said a Country Coach expansion in Junction City definitely is under consideration because “in many respects, we’re busting at the seems up there,” he said.
Country Coach, a producer of highline diesel pushers currently is building 16 units-a-week and operating at about 80% capacity on its 43-acre, 440,000-square-foot assembly complex, where 1,340 people are employed.
Before the company decides to expand in Junction City, Albrechtsen said last month, executives at the firm would need to “analyze that highline market and decide how big we think it is and how large a percentage of it we should go after.”
This week, National RV Holdings spokeswoman Carol Taylor Clay told The Register-Guard, “It’s no secret that it (an expansion) needs to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”
On Wednesday (May 19) , if the Oregon Transportation Commission ratifies the Lane County Commissioners’ decision to provide the money to Country Coach, the firm would need to create 200 jobs within 24 months of completing the road improvements, which could include widening the road, the Lane County public works director told the newspaper.
If Country Coach does not create the specified number of jobs, it would have to repay a portion of the government money, the county official added.
Country Coach announced plans in 2000 for a $10 million expansion in Junction City, but that program was put on indefinite hold because the RV industry plunged into a recession and National RV Holdings, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, was unprofitable for a little more than two years.
But National RV Holdings was profitable the last two quarters, although, Albrechtsen said, he was disappointed net earnings during the first three months of this year were not greater.