Bankrupt manufacturer may be bought

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By Emily Ford
Lane Punch, a precision metal manufacturer headquartered in Salisbury that filed for bankruptcy in July, could have a new owner by the end of the month, said company President Bob Martin.
Martin confirmed that competitor Connell Limited Partnership is interested in purchasing Lane Punch. He declined to name other potential buyers.
The sale will be final Jan. 28, Martin said.
“This is a potential bidding opportunity for several interested parties,” he said.
The economic downturn and decreasing business volume forced Lane Punch into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Martin said. Located just south of Peeler Road near Interstate 85, the privately held company has 75 employees in Salisbury and Canton, Mich., he said.
He declined to name the current owner.
Robert Van Geons, Rowan County Economic Development Commission executive director, said he’s waiting for word of the sale.
“I hope that, assuming the sale goes through, that whoever acquires it will keep those jobs and even grow,” Van Geons said.
The EDC stands ready to assist the new owner, he said.
“Our door is open,” he said.
Employees have been in limbo since the company declared bankruptcy, said Martin. No one knows whether they will have a job after the sale, including himself, he said.
“All the employees have had a difficult time,” he said. “It’s been tough, especially over the holidays.”
Lane Punch, which moved its headquarters to Salisbury from New Jersey in 1986, makes precision metal stamping punches and die components.
The agricultural, appliance and automotive industries use the components to punch out holes and forms.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.