EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a letter send to the Reflector by Doug Cellier, who is plant manager for Automotive Components Holdings, LLC in Sandusky.
Meridian Automotive Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ACH for the lighting business, including the Sandusky Plant and our operations in Bellevue. By entering into the MOU, both parties agree that a general understanding has been reached and that they intend to work in good faith toward final agreement and closing. This announcement is a positive step toward the sale of our lighting business.
Some of you may be familiar with Meridian. For those who are not; Meridian is a leading Tier I supplier, specializing in technologically advanced front-and rear-end modules, exterior thermoplastics and composites, lighting and interior systems. Meridian's annual sales are about $700 million. Meridian currently has 4,200 employees and operates 21 primary facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil.
CEO Richard Newsted has said this deal is a strategic move designed to expand Meridian's strengths and capabilities in lighting technology. After emerging from bankruptcy in December 2006, Meridian has reorganized and strengthened its financial position. The company is a competitive supplier to global automakers in today's challenging environment.
This is great news. Especially in light of the fact not long ago there was little interest in this plant. We have worked hard, but there is much more to do if we are to build a strong business case for this sale. The next steps involve complex negotiations about land, buildings, environment, financial issues and economics including a competitive agreement with the UAW.
We have come a long way in a short time and this is yet another example of what we can achieve when we work together toward a common goal. Let's not get distracted from the improvements we already made. Please continue to stay focused in our key areas which are safety (housekeeping), quality, delivery and cost during this time of transition.
Sandusky Plant Manager