Cambridge Industries' Board of Directors announced that it has received approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to sell substantially all of the company's assets to Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc. of Dearborn, Michigan.

This action clears the way for Cambridge and Meridian to close the sale within the next few weeks. At that time, Meridian will assume ownership of the purchased assets. Additionally, the Meridian name will replace Cambridge's name in all affected locations.

When the asset sale is complete, Meridian Automotive Systems will become a significant force in the automotive industry, supplying interior and exterior components to Original Equipment Manufacturers and other Tier 1 suppliers. Meridian's combined sales will exceed $1.2 billion with operations located throughout North America.

"We welcome Cambridge employees, customers and suppliers to Meridian," said Robert Barton, chairman, president and CEO of Meridian Automotive Systems. "This acquisition gives us the opportunity to step up our efforts to plan, produce, and deliver complex modular systems that are in increasingly greater demand by all the OEM's. We now plan to move swiftly to close on the sale and begin the critical process of integrating the Cambridge assets into our operations.

"The acquisition of Cambridge's assets by Meridian will result in one major supplier with great potential to grow in the future," said Barton. "This acquisition clearly supports our strategy to be a global leader in automotive exterior systems and selected interior modules."

Cambridge has been operating under bankruptcy protection since May 10, when the company voluntarily filed petitions under Chapter 11 to facilitate completion of the sale process. Following close of the asset sale to Meridian, a small core of Cambridge management will oversee completion of remaining bankruptcy proceedings, including court-approved payments of secured and unsecured debt to Cambridge creditors. It is expected that most of the bankruptcy proceedings will be completed by the end of the year.

"We are pleased at the court's timely decision -- we can now finalize the sale and transfer of Cambridge assets to Meridian in a prompt and efficient way, and ensure that the needs of our customers continue to be met," said Richard Crawford, founder and chairman of Cambridge.

The purchase price for Cambridge's assets will include approximately $363 million in cash and the assumption by Meridian of certain current and accrued liabilities and certain employee-related obligations and adjustments. Major investors in Meridian's acquisition of Cambridge include Windward Capital Partners, L.P., Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Credit Suisse First Boston and the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec.

Meridian Automotive Systems is headquartered in Dearborn, Mich. and has 13 locations in Michigan, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee. Meridian is a leading supplier of technologically advanced front and rear end modules, signal lighting, console modules, instrument panels and other interior systems to Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and other major Tier 1 parts suppliers.

Headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Cambridge Industries is a Tier 1 plastic composites supplier to the automotive, light and commercial truck, and industrial products markets with facilities in the U.S., Canada, and South America.