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Morgan Drive Away Inc., once the nation’s largest hauler of manufactured housing (MH), has sold off its MH delivery business to former competitor Bennett Truck Transport LLC, of McDonough, Ga., the South Bend Tribune reports.
The sale, announced on Wednesday, came about because of the continuing slump in the manufactured housing market and recent sharp increases in insurance costs, according to Anthony Castor, CEO of The Morgan Group Inc., Elkhart, Ind. “I felt if we could shed that business, it would be best for our employees and the company,” Castor said.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
Morgan will retain its vehicle delivery business, which does hauling mainly for the recreation vehicle industry, including northern Indiana manufacturers such as Monaco Coach Corp., Skyline Corp., Thor Industries Inc., and Jayco Inc. Morgan also provides tractors and drivers for hauling semi-trailers, its largest contract being with AM General for supplying raw parts for the Hummer H2, according to Castor.
Morgan, which employs about 175 people and works with a nationwide network of around 2,000 independent owner-operators, will lay off some employees, although the exact number will not be known until the transition is complete. Bennett has offered assurances it will hire some Morgan employees.
Declines in manufactured housing shipments from factories since late 1999 stung Morgan deeply. The company saw revenues in its manufactured housing division slump 33%, from $89.2 million in 2000 to $60.2 million in 2001.