Charlotte hybrid busmaker DesignLine files for bankruptcy protection
Charlotte busmaker DesignLine Corp. — which has struggled with production delays and lawsuits since relocating its headquarters here from New Zealand in 2006 — filed Thursday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to court documents.
The company halted work at its southwest Charlotte plant late last month. In a written statement at the time, it called the action temporary.
In the bankruptcy filing, the company listed assets of $14.06 million and debts of $37.5 million.
Its largest creditors listed in the filing include:
•$3.64 million to New Jersey Transit for payments on buses not delivered.
•$2.86 million to Eagle Services Limited, listed as a stockholder.
•$845,645 to Charlotte insurance executive and investor Cameron Harris, who is listed as a stockholder.
•$233,090 to Charlotte law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein.
DesignLine’s board of directors approved the voluntary bankruptcy filing at a meeting Monday, according to the filing.
The company is being represented by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough and Richards, Layton & Finger. GGG Partners was listed as the company’s financial adviser. GGG Partners Managing Partner Katie Goodman is named as chief restructuring officer in the petition.
The company is best known in Charlotte as the former employer of then-mayor Anthony Foxx, who is now the U.S. secretary of transportation. Charlotte Douglas International Airport also runs several of DesignLine's hybrid electric buses as shuttle transportation to CLT parking lots. In 2011, one of those buses caught fire.
The busmaker had started off 2013 with good news: Its compressed natural gas coach bus has passed all phases of the critical Altoona bus test. The Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center in Pennsylvania vets new-model vehicles for the Federal Transit Administration. Some transit agencies, including Charlotte’s, require the green light from Altoona before buying particular makes.