Management of Junction City, Ore.-based Country Coach LLC hopes to have an answer for employees, customers and investors about the company’s future next week.
“The company, Wells Fargo Bank and our investors all continue to meet and have discussions on a regular basis looking for a mutually acceptable solution for all parties involved both secured and unsecured,” Matt Howard with Country Coach told KVAL News. “Country Coach management continues to work diligently towards a go forward solution on behalf of our valued employees, current and future coach owners and all interested parties. We now believe we will have an answer for everyone, including the court, next week.”
The Junction City plant closed temporarily in November. As the planned re-opening on Jan. 5 approached, the motorhome builder sent out a letter to employees saying the company could cease operations if new financing couldn’t be secured by this Saturday (Feb. 28).
“Looking forward, due to recent and unexpected circumstances beyond the control of Country Coach, it now appears that Country Coach will be forced to permanently shut down unless it obtains additional financing on or before Feb. 28, 2009,” company CEO Jay Howard wrote in the letter sent to all of the company’s more than 500 Junction City employees.
That deadline is now off the table as the company looks to resolve its situation by next week.
“The original deadline of Feb. 28 to secure financing no longer stands,” Matt Howard told KVAL News. “Country Coach hopes to make an announcement next week to the public, courts and Wells Fargo about the future of the company.”
Employees were told to pick up their personal belongings from the plant in January, sparking fears the company was on the verge of shutting down for good.
Company managers said at the time that those fears were unfounded.
“We may close permanently at any moment in the next 30 days, or we may not,” Matt Howard said. “At this point, nothing is certain.”
The invitation to employees to pick up their belongings coincided with filings by one of Country Coach’s largest creditors, Wells Fargo Bank, which sought immediate liquidation of the company’s assets to settle an outstanding debt. A court denied the bank’s request.
Even if the RV maker secures financing, some employees may not be returning to their jobs. The letter sent to employees at the end of 2008 indicated possible layoffs on March 1. The letter did not specify how many of the roughly 500 employees will lose their jobs.