No veterinarian, Morton Industrial Group helps to produce Cats and Deere. Through its subsidiaries, the contract metal fabricator makes metal components and subassemblies for agricultural, construction, and industrial OEMs. Doing business as Morton Metalcraft, it also produces sheet metal products, such as engine enclosures and complex weldments for backhoes and tractors. Top customers include Caterpillar, Deere, Hallmark, JLG Industries, and Komatsu America. The company operates prototype tooling and related services, too. In 2006 Brazos Private Equity Partners picked up Morton, taking the company private. Morton filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in 2009, citing its debt load and plummeting sales.
Morton's losses precipitated considerable pressure from its lenders, vendors, and creditors. Prior to filing for bankruptcy, the company's debt amounted to over $78 million. Morton's subsidiary, MMC Precision Holdings, sought and received approval from the US Bankruptcy Court for a $20 million bankruptcy loan from its current lenders, enabling it to restructure and find a buyer for its assets. In the interim, Morton faces a "dog-eat-dog" market as it reorganizes and looks to enter into an asset purchase agreement with a stalking horse bidder.
The company's recession woes are shared by many of its top customers; Cat and Winnebago have cut thousands of jobs in reaction to lower sales. The company has approximately 1,000 employees at five facilities, and another 350 plus on layoff. Morton's largest stockholder is Brazos. The equity firm holds over 80% of the company's preferred and common stock. – less