Fleetwood to Sell Major Part of RV Business

As part of its ongoing bankruptcy reorganization, Riverside-based Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. announced today it has sold a major part of its recreational vehicle manufacturing business.

American Industrial Partners Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, paid $53 million for Fleetwood's remaining motor home assets in Indiana, as well as equipment and machinery in Riverside, in a deal approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to a statement released by the company.

"Fleetwood's motor home brands are highly respected, and we are confident that this market will recover with the broader economy," said Dino Cusumano, a partner at AIP.

"We look forward to continuing to manufacture Fleetwood motor homes," he said. "Fleetwood's dealers and customers should see no change in Fleetwood motor homes' commitment to high-quality, industry-leading product."

According to Fleetwood spokeswoman Sydney Rosencranz, the company will continue to operate an RV manufacturing plant in Riverside and a facility in Paxinos, Penn.

"A good chunk of the manufactured housing business also remains" under Fleetwood's control for the foreseeable future, Rosencranz said.

Elden L. Smith, Fleetwood's president and chief executive officer, said he was "pleased ... the Fleetwood name will be preserved in the RV marketplace" following the sale to AIP, which should be concluded in a few weeks.

"The Fleetwood motor home group will benefit greatly from having ownership that is well capitalized, experienced, and committed to growth in the RV industry," Smith said. "We are now focused on making this a smooth transition for our dealers, Fleetwood motor home owners and associates."

It wasn't immediately clear how the sale would impact workers at the four Indiana facilities.

Fleetwood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 10. In the last three years, amid plummeting sales of mobile homes and recreational vehicles, the company has shed two-thirds of its workforce and closed a number of manufacturing facilities and dealerships.

Financial statements show the company's last profitable quarter was the one ending Jan. 29, 2006.

Its stock was de-listed by the New York Stock Exchange last year and now trades for pennies.

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