Beleaguered molder Purethane Corp. will close later this year, ending a 19-year-old business that grew to become a major employer in its hometown, but ended up in court-ordered supervision.
Executives will shut down the 200-employee operation in West Branch, Iowa, probably by December.
Owners and management of Purethane were not available to comment, but West Branch Mayor Richard Rex said Aug. 24 that he has received confirmation of the pending closure.
The action will wrap up a tough year for the firm, which at one point employed 700. The company does injection molding, blow molding and rotational molding for the automotive and marine industries.
In October, Cedar County District Judge David Schoenthaler named Martin J. Kelly as custodian for the company, following up on a petition from co-owner L. Eugene Bailey seeking oversight from a third party.
Bailey and Ronald Christensen each owned half of Purethane, but by last year Bailey said in his court filing they ``cannot agree on fundamental issues involving the company,'' and asked the judge to dissolve the business and have an independent consultant wrap up its affairs.
Officials were under a court order not to speak about the issues involving the company, but Kelly noted in December Purethane was undergoing an audit while daily operations continued.
By July, though, the firm laid off 100 of its 300 employees in the face of slowing business.
The firm, its workers and the community had hopes they could sell the business and keep the jobs, but a potential deal fell through in early August, Rex said.