By Bob Wheaton
Posted Jan 15, 2010 @ 02:46 PM

Cargotainer Cargotainer of Adrian likely will close in the next month, costing 59 people their jobs, the company’s top official said Thursday.

The business — which manufactures industrial-strength shipping containers — has already laid off 42 workers over the last 18 months, said Geoffrey Scully, president of Cargotainer. “It’s going to continue to get smaller,” Scully said. “We have 15 people that will be laid off as of Monday.

“I wouldn’t think we could last much longer than another two to four weeks,” he said.

The employee-owned company has been trying to find a buyer and has an interested party, Scully said.

“There’s a slim hope that maybe something can be worked out with the bank and the potential new owner, but I don’t know of anything positive happening yet,” he said, declining to release any information about the possible buyer.

“My objective is to try to keep as many jobs as possible alive here and the facility operating, and that would require a new ownership,” he said. The Adrian-based company has its main production facility on Beecher Street at Main Street and a second office and warehouse building in the city’s industrial park nearby.

“The impact would be devastating,” city Director of Community Development Chris Atkin said of Cargotainer closing. “Having employed over 100 people, cutting back by half and down to zero is detrimental to Adrian in general.”

The closing is likely imminent because Cargotainer’s lender, Huntington National Bank, has initiated forbearance proceedings, Scully said.

He said the business hasn’t missed any loan payments, but its agreement with the lender requires the company to maintain a certain net worth. Financial losses caused by the poor economy resulted in the company’s net worth dropping below the required amount, he said.

“(With) this deep recession, it’s been our worst year yet,” Scully said. “Losses were significant last year and that pretty much did it.”

An official from Huntington declined to comment.

“Huntington keeps all of our customers’ information confidential, therefore we are unable to comment,” said Shannon Loar-Tenney, a regional marketing manager for the bank.

Cargotainer — legally named Adrian Fabricators — has been in business since 1983, Scully said. Its industrial park location opened in 2000.

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