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Clark Closes The Book on Chapter 11

Young An Hat Company Ltd (YAHC) of Buchsan, South Korea, has acquired Clark Material Handling Company’s assets, and about $10 million in debt. Reported transaction price: $7.5 million.

The transaction ends Clark’s bankruptcy, which it filed under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in April 2000, listing $349 million in assets and $374 million in debts.

YAHC plans to keep Clark manufacturing in Korea and the sales office and headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. Chuck Moratz, Clark's director of marketing and product support, told MHM that the new owners plan to be hands-off when it comes to running the lift truck business.

"The management here has been in place for 18 months and has done a good job keeping us going during difficult times," he said. "We're looking forward to building the business. We have several new products that will come out this year. While Clark has been putting out new product for the past few years, we did slow up some during Chapter 11. But over the next two years you'll see quite a step-up in the pace of new products and technology. This acquisition will allow us to re-emerge in the marketplace."

Kevin Reardon will remain as Clark chief executive under the new ownership. He said the new owner plans to continue Clark's operations as a wholly owned subsidiary and that no labor reductions were in the offing. Clark booked sales of $220 million last year and projected a 20 percent sales increase this year, with Clark’s parts business returning to normal.

YAHC, formed in 1959, is the world’s largest hat manufacturer, and is a major supplier for the NFL and Wal-Mart. The company also owns hotels, a supermarket chain, and multiple bus manufacturing businesses. The company employs more than 4,000 people and has projected 2003 sales of $750 million.

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