Volant Closes Colorado Plant


Denver, Colo. August 29, 2001 (AP by Dan Elliot)–Volant Sports, one of only two companies still making skis in the United States, shut down its manufacturing plant Tuesday and laid off 95 workers after failing to raise enough cash to keep operating.

Vice president Stephan Hienzsch said Volant was talking with two possible buyers but declined to identify them. He said Volant had no plans to reorganize or file for bankruptcy protection.

“The most likely scenario would be some kind of an asset sale which obviously could involve the purchase of the brand and the technology and re-emerging with those assets,” he said.

Hienzsch blamed Volant’s problems on high manufacturing costs and low cash flow.

“There’s a huge lag between the time we purchase materials and build the product and when we actually get paid by the dealers,” he said. The company couldn’t get financing to bridge the gap.

K2 Corp., the other company making skis in the United States, announced last month it would shift most of its U.S. production to China, eliminating about 450 U.S. jobs.

Hienzsch said any new owner would have to consider moving Volant’s production out of the country.

He said an employee purchase of the company isn’t possible under current conditions. Earlier reports said an employee buyout was an option.

The 12-year-old company stopped production at its suburban Wheat Ridge plant last week.

Volant’s stainless steel skis sell for $550 to $800. It had $12 million in sales in the last fiscal year, making it the No. 5 ski maker with 7 percent of the U.S. market.

The company made 60,000 pairs of skis a year. All of its international orders and 80 percent of its North American retail orders were filled by Tuesday.

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