Company may declare bankruptcy

It could be the line for one of Salmon Arm's largest employers.

COE Newnes McGehee, which manufactors sawmill equipment and machinery, has filed paperwork with the BC Supreme Court which could lead to the company declaring bankruptcy.

Kim Schwarz, director of human resources, says COE filed a notice of intention to make a proposal on Thursday.

“In layman's terms that means the company could either go into bankruptcy or it could continue to operate under the Company Creditors Arrangement Act, which could mean some restructuring. But no decision has been made yet, the company and the lender are still in discussions,” says Schwarz.

She says industry changes are the cause of the notice.

“Market conditions, the US economy, the Pine Beetle, all of those things have impacted the softwood lumber industry.

Schwarz says the company employs 330 people and it has been communicating with employees to inform them of the situation.

She says there is no confirmed deadline in regards to a decision as to whether the company will have to declare bankruptcy.

Dave Andrews, president of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce, says it may be hard for the workers to find new jobs in Salmon Arm if the company does close.

“The work they do there is so specialized that there isn’t really anything similar in the area,” says Andrews.

COE has been operating out of Salmon Arm since 1912. The company has five facilities in the United States located in Oregon, Georgia and Ohio.

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