Prop maker files for bankruptcy

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Marine propeller manufacturer Michigan Wheel Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but expects to be bought by Michigan-based investment firm The Anderson Group, LLC, according to a story in The Grand Rapids Press this week.

The move isn’t expected to impact the 63 employees at the company’s headquarters, president and CEO Stanley Heide said, and when it emerges from bankruptcy reorganization, the 106-year-old company will maintain its current name and operations, according to the article.

The tightening of consumer spending on luxury goods, including boats, and high fuel prices were the primary contributors to Michigan Wheel’s debt, the newspaper reported.

In its bankruptcy filing, Michigan Wheel had $12.3 million in assets and $14.9 million in liabilities. Heide said the filing will allow Michigan Wheel to restructure its pension plans, and the federally-backed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. likely will protect the pensions of current and former employees, according to the newspaper.

“I don’t think there will be any negative impact,” Heide said. “I think the company will emerge from bankruptcy with very little debt going forward.”

Michigan Wheel also operates an industrial-castings plant in Waukesha, Wis., with 13 employees; and a sales-and-distribution facility in Kingsteignton, England, with six employees.

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