Gorell enters receivership; company's future in question
A Pittsburgh-based private investment banking and management consulting firm confirmed this morning that Gorell Windows and Doors is in receivership and could be sold to new owners.
Margaret Good, president of The Meridian Group, said representatives of her company will be at Gorell's plant in White Township today to begin "an assessment phase" to determine the company's future in the short term.
"The company has been struggling through the recession and has been hit with a series of things related to the downturn in the market," Good said.
Majority owner Wayne Gorell and other co-owners put money into the company to cover losses, Good said, but "it was determined they needed to figure out a different direction."
As the appointed receiver for Gorell, The Meridian Group will not be taking any dramatic actions, Good said. But she added she has talked to prospective buyers -- two as recently as this morning -- and one intends to send her a proposal letter within a week, she said.
Good also said the Gorell plant remains open and taking orders, and will be manufacturing products next week as talks with prospective buyers continue.
According to the company's website, The Meridian Group specializes in providing mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, management consulting and corporate turnaround management services, and acts in the capacity of court-appointed receiver.
The employees, members of the International Union of Electrical and Communication Workers of America, Local 88611, last August agreed to a concessionary contract modification that cut hourly wages by $2. The union had urged its membership to accept the pay cut, saying it was necessary to help ensure the manufacturer's survival.
A representative of the union local did not return a phone call this morning seeking details of the situation at Gorell from the union perspective.
No information was available today on how many people are still working at the plant. During contract negotiations in 2008, the local represented 285 union employees.
A call seeking comment from Gorell officials was referred to The Meridian Group.
In October, the Indiana County commissioners approved for Gorell a $250,000 loan from the county's Revolving Loan Fund, administered by the county's Office of Planning and Development.
According to Byron Stauffer, the planning office's executive director, Gorell borrowed the money for "working capital."
As recently as two years ago, business was booming at Gorell Windows and Doors. In March of 2010 the company, for the unprecedented seventh consecutive year, received the Energy Star Partner of the Year award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition for products that help consumers save money while increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
According to the company, Gorell in the spring of 2010 was also experiencing record increases in new business acquisitions -- adding more dealers and distributors -- and in business volume from new acquisitions.
In 2009, the amount of Gorell's window business resulting from new dealers and distributors was 70 percent more than new business acquired in 2008.