NORTHVILLE, Mich. (Dec. 5, 2001)—Wheel maker Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming its problems on excessive debt and declining market conditions.
The company, considered the largest automotive wheel maker worldwide, said it has lined up $200 million in “debtor-in-possession” financing from a group of lenders that will be used to fund post-petition operating expenses and meet supplier and employee obligations.
Prior to the filing, Hayes Lemmerz had begun a restructuring aimed at reducing operating costs. Among the actions taken were an 11-percent reduction in salaried workforce, two plant closings and a management shake-up.
The Chapter 11 filings “will give us the flexibility to reduce our debt and restructure our balance sheet,” said Curtis Clawson, chairman and chief executive officer. “We fully expect to emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more competitive company than we are today.”
Hayes Lemmerz reported $1.36 billion in wheel sales for the year ended Jan. 31. The company supplies only original equipment steel and aluminum wheels; General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler A.G. represented 52 percent of the firm's business in fiscal 2000.