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Kurz-Kasch closes, assets auctioned off

SoVaNow.com / May 27, 2013
Kurz-Kasch Inc., a South Boston industrial mainstay for 46 years — mostly during that time as Wabash Magnetics — will soon be no more.

The Seymour Drive maker of electrical components and electromagnetic coils has all but shut down after seven months of uncertainty for the plant’s employees. Told in October 2012 they could lose their jobs within 60 days unless a buyer surfaced for the South Boston operation, the pared-down workforce has run out of extensions with the decision by Kurz-Kasch to liquidate the assets of the local plant.

A handful of workers will remain on the job this week to wind down operations.

At the time the South Boston workforce was first notified the plant was in jeopardy, in October, Kurz-Kasch employed some 60 people locally. As recently as February, the operation employed 36.

Starting today, the plant’s assets will be sold off in a timed on-line auction conducted by Great American Group (http://gaauction.com), which specializes in asset liquidation and inventory clearance. The Kurz-Kasch liquidation auction will begin Tuesday, May 28 and end Thursday, May 30 at 3 p.m. Registered bidders will be able to inspect items for auction today and tomorrow, May 27-28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Boston plant.

The Great American website lists 420 items for sale, almost all of which are located in South Boston, although a handful are stationed at Kurz-Kasch’s Newcomerstown, Ohio location, which also serves as company headquarters.

Auction items range from the highly specialized — for example, a Wabash Coil Turns Analyzer Series 2000, an echo of the plant’s history under a different corporate parent — to the ordinary: band saws and drill presses, hand trucks and forklifts, metal work tables and cabinets. Two refrigerators carry an opening bid price of $25.00. So does an assortment of office furniture: a desk, tables, folding chairs.

A call to Kurz-Kasch in Newcomerstown for director of operations Chad Merkel drew a curt response and no comment. Merkel hung up on the call.

Efforts this weekend to contact employees of the local plant — including longtime plant manager Dennis Stewart — also were unsuccessful.

The history of the Seymour Drive operation goes back to 1946, when DeLuxe Coils, a Wabash, Indiana-based company, opened the coil winding facility in South Boston. At the time primarily in business making electrical coils for the radio industry, DeLuxe branched out into replacement parts for the automotive aftermarket, an expansion that led to the company doubling in size.

Later the company became known as Kearney/Wabash Electrical Components Group, with the South Boston operation going by the name Wabash Magnetics. Wabash Magnetics was acquired by Kurz-Kasch, then based in Dayton, Ohio, in 2003.

Some four years later, in 2007, Kurz-Kasch was acquired by Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. Since then the owners have consolidated operations and pared the workforce, with South Boston becoming the latest manufacturing site to cease operations.

The town almost lost Kurz-Kasch once before, with the plant employing only some 10 workers in 2009, but Kurz-Kasch’s decision in 2011 to shutter its Miamisburg, Ohio operation and shift production to South Boston gave the plant a new lease on life. Stewart, the local manager, said in an October 2012 interview that he remained “optimistic” about the South Boston plant hanging on after seeing Kurz-Kasch go through ups-and-downs before.

Kurz-Kasch competed in a specialized, relatively high-end sector making parts for cars, submarines and machines employed by heavy industry. The jobs paid well for South Boston, he noted at the time, adding: “If you’re going to work in manufacturing, [this is] a good place to work.”







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"in 2007, Kurz-Kasch was acquired by Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm..."

There's your problem, right there in black and white. A private equity firm. All these type corporations DO is acquire companies that, while still solvent, may be in a little trouble, then drive them into the ditch, liquidate the assets and take a tax writeoff for great personal gain.

Change the tax laws to discourage such profiteering and you'll see a lot of this type mess go away.

They're not even deserving of the name "vultures". They're plain old buzzards.

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But it had to happen in Halifax County, and another one bites the dust!!!


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