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Tennessee battery manufacturer files for commercial bankruptcy

The decision to file for a business bankruptcy is always a difficult one, especially when it becomes clear that it can have a ripple effect on the local economy. The company itself may be subject to the ripple effect of other forces.

Such may be the case for the battery maker Exide, which has been operating a plant over in Bristol, Tennessee, for years. The company had previously announced that it would be shuttering that plant, but now those plans may be changing under the commercial bankruptcy filing the company made recently.

The Exide plant here in Tennessee once employed as many as 800 people. The most recent report from the state of Tennessee is that 170 people would be laid off this fall, but it's unclear if any Exide employees will remain after the bankruptcy filing announced recently. Some of those employees may in turn now have to make decisions about declaring personal bankruptcy.

The paperwork for the Exide bankruptcy specifically states that it covers operations in this country and not overseas. The company is based in Georgia and operates a plant in California in addition to the one here in Tennessee.

Exide had previously been awarded stimulus money from the federal government to try to improve battery manufacturing here in the U.S. It's unclear exactly how that money was spent.

While the jobs in Tennessee are probably not going to be coming back, the company itself hopes to continue, helped in part by what the company described in the bankruptcy filing as a $500 million debtor-in-possession financing facility. That facility reportedly comes from a group of financial institutions and investors hoping to restructure the company.

Source: Kingsport Times-News, "Exide filing for bankruptcy," Hank Hayes, June 10, 2013

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