Longtime mop and broom handle maker Thomas Monahan Co. of Arcola, Ill., purchased most of the operating assets of Specialty Filaments Inc. at a Chapter 7 bankruptcy auction and plans to ramp up the former SFI plant as soon as possible.
Documents filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Burlington, Vt., indicate Monahan used a subsidiary, Monahan SFI LLC, to purchase certain assets of Middlebury, Vt.-based SFI on Jan. 30. Monahan paid $3.13 million for equipment and the one facility in Middlebury, but did not assume any liabilities.
Specialty Filaments shut its doors Jan. 5 and filed for Chapter 7 on Jan. 11.
``We had to open before a lot of people knew that they were closed,'' said Tim Monahan, chairman of the board of Thomas Monahan Co., who handled the closing of the deal.
The quick turnover enables the company to retain the value of customers' orders. Monahan said if the deal had taken three weeks longer, it probably would not have happened. He said his son, Jon Monahan, is working to get Specialty Filaments up to speed as quickly as possible.
Prior to the filing of the bankruptcy claim, Wells Fargo Bank, National Association had declared Specialty Filaments in default on a loan agreement and took possession of the company's assets. Court documents said the deal with Monahan will be inadequate to satisfy a debt of more than $8 million owed to Wells Fargo.
``We're glad they're back in operation,'' said William Finger, town manager for Middlebury. He said the company will be eligible for government assistance for rehiring workers and buying new equipment.
Monahan Co.'s history dates back to the 1880s. It makes wood and metal handles, as well as other parts for mops and brooms. The company also does in-line plastic coating and electrostatic powder coating.
Tim Monahan said his company bought some equipment from Specialty Filaments two years ago, so he was familiar with the company.
The Burlington Free Press reported Monahan Co. has negotiated a three-year deal with the company's union, and plans to hire 80 percent of the plant's 175 former workers within a year.
Specialty Filaments underwent a major consolidation in 2002 when it closed production facilities in Columbia, S.C., and Leominster, Mass.
At the time, Capital Resource Partners, a Boston-based investment firm, purchased SFI and moved much of the work to upper Vermont.
SFI made synthetic monofilaments and served the abrasives, toothbrush, cosmetics, industrial paint, construction, janitorial and sanitation markets.