Just a couple of months after I started as a reporter for Plastics News, one of the first companies I wrote about was Key Plastics LLC, an injection molding auto supplier that entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2000.
Key's route through the court system taught me a lot about all the twists and turns that can take place in the bankruptcy system.
In a way, I've felt a special tie to those molding facilities that kept on turning out parts during the past 20 years, even as their corporate parent went through a range of changes.
Eventually becoming part of Novares Group SA, they became an element in a global company with leadership that took big moves to establish a presence wherever the auto industry was, while also investing in startups that would allow it to be a part of a changing auto industry embracing electric and autonomous vehicles.
But, of course, no amount of planning or caution could have seen the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Now Novares finds itself under court protection from creditors as it seeks a sale or restructuring through the French bankruptcy process. It has received funding to open the bulk of its European operations as it works through the system.
What happens to this company — and any company — during a continuing global panedemic will be hard to predict. But for the sake of all those workers at those molding plants who have already been through decades worth of ownership changes, I hope it transitions smoothly to whatever shape it will take next.