Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc. is acquiring most of the assets of Coachmen Industries Inc.’s RV Group, including brands, product lines and central manufacturing operations in Middlebury, Ind., along with a dealership in Elkhart.
In a statement, publicly-traded Coachmen said Forest River, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will retain the majority of the builder’s work force. Coachmen’s modular housing and specialty vehicle operations will not be part of the transaction.
“Forest River has agreed to offer continued employment to almost 85% of our RV Group employees in Indiana,” said CEO Rick Lavers. “Some will be able to interview with Forest River to explore career opportunities. Others will be transferred to the continuing operations of Coachmen Industries Inc.”
Lavers added, “For 44 years, Coachmen has been a leading and respected RV brand, employing thousands of dedicated and talented people in the communities where we have operated. With this transaction, we secure the future for this proud brand, and the employees of our RV Group. This announcement will also end the speculation over whether Coachmen itself will survive these extraordinarily difficult times, and preserve the jobs of our employee base, in both our RV and housing segments.”
Lavers said that the ARBOC mobility bus, introduced this year, will remain with Coachmen Industries and that the company’s headquarters will stay in the Middlebury/Elkhart area.
“We will be financially sound with sufficient cash liquidity to not just survive, but to build our profitable housing businesses and continue our diversification into the bus and specialty vehicle transportation industries,” Lavers said.
The transaction is subject to approval by Coachmen shareholders. A special shareholders meeting has been set for Nov. 25.
“There is still much to be done, but we look forward to a long and bright future for both these fine companies,” concluded Lavers.