Janesville19.3°

RathGibson gets new owners, emerges from bankruptcy

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
June 15, 2010
— The RathGibson plant in Janesville is doing well and might even increase employment as the parent company emerges from bankruptcy, a company official said Monday.

The company announced Monday that it will have new owners as it emerges from bankruptcy.


The new owner is an investment group led by Wayzata Investment Partners of Minnesota.


Wayzata extended employment agreements to all employees in the company, said Kirk Thorne, vice president for sales and marketing.


“I think that put people at ease, and rightfully so,” Thorne said, noting that employment is a concern whenever a company changes ownership.


Thorne said RathGibson did better than expected in the first four months of its fiscal year, and it has increased hours at its Janesville plant since January, from four-day weeks to five-day weeks, with occasional weekend work.


“Wayzata and its partners are making a significant investment in our business because of their high level of confidence in our people, products, and future,” said Michael Schwartz, President and CEO, in a news release. “Joining forces with Wayzata allows us to focus on opportunities to provide tubing solutions throughout the world.”


RathGibson makes metal tubing. Part of its resurgence involves its new U-Bend Manufacturing Center in Janesville, which provides tubing for natural gas and nuclear power plants, Thorne said.


Janesville also is making a new product, tubing for solar energy collection facilities, Thorne said.


The company is “cautiously optimistic” about its markets and might even expand to two or three shifts in Janesville, based on customer demand, Thorne said.


RathGibson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2009. The company based in Lincolnshire, Ill., describes itself as a worldwide manufacturer of highly engineered stainless steel, nickel and titanium tubing for industries that include petrochemical, power generation, oil and gas, food and dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and general commercial.


Thorne said the company is committed to pay all its trade creditors upon emergence from bankruptcy.


Janesville workers voted in March not to unionize. The vote was 63-47.



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