Sale of HPA Monon to Vanguard complete

HPA Monon Corp has completed its sale to Vanguard National Trailer Corp for $4.5 million. Richard Dessimoz, the company's new president and a former executive with Wabash National Corp, told Trailer/Body Builders that production could start in a few months.

Vanguard, a subsidiary of China International Marine Containers Ltd, will produce trailers at the 51-year-old plant in downtown Monon IN. The facility consists of 10 buildings on 300 acres.

The plant's employment reached 1,180 in 2000 but had dropped to fewer than 100 when it closed in May 2003 and filed for bankruptcy. An estimated 450 people will be hired over a two-year period.

“I think they've got the knowledge and wherewithal to make this a successful plant,” said Edward Chosnek, a Lafayette IN attorney serving as the company's bankruptcy trustee. “Hopefully, this will be the last of the bankruptcies.”

The plant is in White County, where the jobless rate remains among the highest in Indiana at 8.3% for March, the latest figures available.

A June 10 decision by United States Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Grant allowed Vanguard to clear the last potential hurdle in its bid to buy Monon.

During a brief hearing, Grant ruled on a lone objection to the sale, which took place June 6 when the offer from Vanguard was accepted by Chosnek.

Daniel Freeland filed the objection because of a dispute over a patent connected to equipment involved in the 1997 bankruptcy of what was then Monon Corp. Freeland was trustee of the earlier bankruptcy.

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