SHELL ROCK, IOWA — The expected buyer for Hobson Mould Works Inc. has pulled out of the deal, throwing the fate of the financially strapped toolmaker again into question.
Brainerd, Minn.-based Lakeland Mold. Co. had offered to purchase the entire assets of Hobson Mould, a molder and maker of blow molds based in Shell Rock. Hobson had been shopped to buyers after a severe cash shortage in December led to the layoff of most of its staff.
Lakeland President John Newhouse said April 6 that while financing was in place for the sale, economic conditions had changed for the worst. That put the brakes on the acquisition.
"We've removed ourselves from the purchase of Hobson Mould," Newhouse said. "We had been agonizing over the general trends in the overall economy and the influence on the appropriateness of our acquisition. We considered [the sale] inappropriate at this time."
The sale leaves the future of Hobson Mould in doubt. Investment banker Ken Mann, retained by Hobson to sell the company, had said previously that the company's assets would be liquidated if a buyer could not be found quickly and approved by Hobson's major creditor, Firstar Bank of Milwaukee.
Mann and Hobson Mould President Gerald Hobson were unavailable for comment before deadline.