GMH and Ford have stepped in with Autodom bailout

GMH and Ford have stepped in with Autodom bailout

Australian component manufacturer, Autodom's staff are back at work following an emergency bailout from General Motors Holden (GMH) and Ford.

The cash injection - believed to be around AS$6.5m (US$6.8m) - follows Autodom's placement into administration and trenchant criticism from CEO Calvin Stead of 'industry partners' although he was not immediately available to clarify those remarks.

"The situation is General Motors Holden and Ford have bought the debt between them," a GMH spokesman told just-auto from Australia. "The situation was to a degree looking quite difficult because both companies could have seen product difficulties appear within seven to nine days [from] the initial shut-down of Autodom. 

"The workers returned to work this Tuesday (6 November).

"We were already round the negotiating table with them and they closed down the factory, which was a bit strange. They are not the only stampers, but they were the sole supplier at the time."

GM added it would probably not see any change in the situation until the end of the year, although there is some speculation Autodom could be broken up by the receivers into several divisions.

The decision by Ford and GMH to step in with a financial package - described as "a proportion of the debt" - will now allow the business to continue - a development welcomed by the US automaker's Australian partner.

"The long term plan is to see what happens with the restructuring of the business, because from our perspective, their facility in South Australia is pretty good," said the GMH spokesman.

"The position they were in - although not entirely unexpected by us - [what was] unexpected [was] they stopped production on Thursday [1 November] last week. They told their workers when they arrived not to come in."

Australia's Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) Victoria assistant secretary, Leigh Diehm, said he had been told Autodom had "large financial difficulties" with members last week attending on full pay from their annual leave entitlement.

The union claims Autodom's move came as something as a surprise as it claims it had purchased excess equipment from car parts maker, CMI, which is being wound up, in the past month, although this could not be immediately verified.

Diehm also took a swipe at Victoria Premier, Ted Baillieu, urging him to live up to his government's "rhetoric" concerning the support of manufacturing jobs in the Australian State that has the largest share of the country's 200,000 automotive jobs.

"The Premier likes to get out there when there's good news, saying he supports manufacturing, but this is an opportunity for him to get in and back it up by assisting these workers," Diehm said.

A previous statement from GMH said it recognised the importance of the domestic supply chain to the automotive sector, as well as its multiplier effect on employment the Australian auto industry has on the broader economy.  

"We can now move forward and work with the receivers to ensure minimal disruption to our workforce and our manufacturing operations while a more secure future for the Autodom companies is established," it noted.

Autodom subsidiary, DAIR Industries, produces rear bumper assemblies, foot brakes, clutch mechanisms, hood hinges and parking brakes for Ford, Toyota, GMH and truck maker Kenworth.

Neither Autodom or its administrators were immediately available for comment from Australia.