Georgia-based battery maker Exide Technologies has notified the state it may be laying off a number of workers or close its recycling facility in Muncie, affecting as many as 180 employees.
The company last week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it attempts to reorganize the business. Exide said it is looking to sell all or a portion of the company assets.
Exide says a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware last week granted the company first-day motions, which allows the company to continue to operate, pay employees and provide health benefits and to pay suppliers.
In the notice to the state, Exide said if it does not find a buyer, it may be “forced to conduct reductions-in-force or plant closings.”
Even if there is a buyer, Exide said the new owner could choose to cease operations and close the plant.
Exide said if layoffs occur, they could begin as early as the week of July 21. But for now, a company spokesperson says it continues to operate as usual.
“Our Board of Directors determined that, given the continued, unsustainable impact on our cost structure resulting from legacy liabilities in North America, and in light of the global economic COVID-19 slowdown that has amplified these pressures, a sale of our North American operations through a court-supervised process provides the best opportunity to continue delivering high-quality energy storage solutions and service to our customers,” said Tim Vargo, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Exide in a news release.
Vargo said the bankruptcy and probable sale does not include its European, African, or Asian operations.
The Muncie facility recycles spent lead batteries. Recovered materials are shipped to its manufacturing plants to produce new batteries.