Sunline Coach Co., a builder with over 40 years in the recreational vehicle industry, has laid off 150 workers and halted production due to an ongoing soft retail climate.
According to a press release, the Denver, Pa., company today (Nov. 15) announced that it has ceased plant operations and the closing is expected to be completed in December.
The release stated: “This action is necessary as a result of the soft 2006 RV market, with the downturn being most severe in the months of September and October.”
Joe Bucara, president and COO, in an e-mail to RV Business said, “While it is an unpleasant time for Sunline, we continue to pursue options to reopen with a great deal of support of the industry.”
According to the release, the company said that it has been “actively seeking capital” from potential equity investors and venture capital firms. It has also been negotiating with potential buyers in an attempt to avoid a shutdown. The company noted, “These efforts have been unsuccessful to date.”
Consequently, Sunline determined that it was unable to reach a timely agreement with a buyer or investor and therefore could not avoid a shutdown. Notice of the shutdown has been provided to Sunline employees as well as dealers and suppliers.
The release stated: “The decision to shut down Sunline with its 40-plus year history, and its highly experienced work force was an extremely difficult one.”
In the meantime, Sunline management continues to actively discuss a possible sale of the company and equity investment opportunities with interested parties, noting, “If in a reasonable time period these current efforts are successful, Sunline’s shutdown actions are readily reversible and normal operations can be resumed.”
Sunline is a manufacturer of light-weight travel trailers, towable sport utility RVs (SURVs) and specially equipped disability accessible travel trailers.
The company was sold in February 2004 by Lewis M. Martin, the firm’s chairman and a principal of the firm since 1964, W. Larry Lawrence Jr., the company’s CEO and part owner since 1978, and John Zimmerman, chairman emeritus who had been involved with Sunline since 1975.
The buyers included Bucara, Paul Kozloff, Bruce Cobb and John Whitehall. Zimmerman’s son, Dale, stayed on with the firm as executive vice president of production.