Kingsbury files for Chapter 11

Machine tool maker Kingsbury Corp. of Keene, at one time one of the largest employers in the Monadnock Region, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.The company filed for protection on Sept. 30 after reaching agreement with Diamond Business Credit LLC for new financing that the company said will provide “needed and continued working capital” that will be key in allowing the company to continue operations as it reorganizes.”Chapter 11 will provide Kingsbury an opportunity to restructure for the benefit of our valued customers and vendors, and, most important, our valued employees,” said Iris Mitropoulis, president of Kingsbury.Kingsbury was hard-hit by the collapse of the U.S. auto industry in 2009, when it was hurt not only by declining orders but cancellations as well.By March 2009, Kingsbury said it was forced to furlough many of its employees and to freeze payments to vendors.Kingsbury’s major lenders showed temporary patience, but by early 2011, Kingsbury faced increasing pressure, particularly from its major equipment lender, Utica Leaseco, LLC.Faced with Utica’s potential repossession and auction of equipment necessary for Kingsbury’s continued operation, Kingsbury and its affiliates, two holding companies, filed for Chapter 11 relief, said Mitropoulis.She said she anticipates that the “breathing spell” granted to Kingsbury as a result of the Chapter 11 filing will give the company the chance to jump-start its operations and restore the company to a profitable future. Kingsbury has been a manufacturing mainstay of the Keene economy since the 1920s, when it was Kingsbury Machine Tool Corp. The company designed and built machines used to manufacture parts needed for the country’s military buildup in the 1930s and 1940s. It eventually became a maker of machine tools for the auto industry, among other manufacturers.The company began dwindling in size in the 1980s and 1990s, reflecting the decline in U.S. manufacturing overall, and the number of people it employed shrank from hundreds to dozens. — JEFF FEINGOLD/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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