Several Companies Show Interest in Ailing ATS Plant
A number of companies have cast a hungry eye upon the factory owned by ATS Light Alloy Wheels South Africa a month after the company was placed in provisional liquidation. One of the joint liquidators, Alan Pellow, said that about six companies had already inspected the plant and “some people in the US want to have a look.”
The liquidators say they are striving to find a buyer who we take on the factory as a going concern, however this happy outcome is by no means certain. “We are waiting for the final valuations for the plant and will then probably send out an information pack worldwide and see what we can bring in,” Pellow added.
ATS Light Alloy Wheels South Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tiger Wheels’ 74 per cent owned German unit ATS Beteiligungs. In addition to the South African facility, ATS also operates alloy wheel manufacturing plants in Germany, Poland and the US. Directors and senior management at the South African plant applied for liquidation of the company due to ongoing cash flow problems, and the decision as to if or when liquidation is finalised is dependent on a high court decision.
As is often the case in these situations, many company employees are feeling the financial sting of recent events. ATS’ four major creditors – FNB, Billiton, Nedbank and Tiger Wheels (Tiwheel) – have agreed to pay employees a portion of their salary arrears, however employees cannot gain access to their pension funds until the liquidation is made final. In the meantime those employees with the most skills are finding work elsewhere, and the loss of each skilled worker makes the continuance of the plant as a going concern just that much more difficult – a fact not lost on Pellow, who has described the factory as a “sad place.”