HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - One of Huntsville's biggest employers is filing for bankruptcy and plans to sell all of its local assets. But the man who leads Cinram now says that the Huntsville plant, and the jobs that go with it, aren't going anywhere.
Cinram CEO Steve Brown spoke with WHNT News 19 from company headquarters in Canada Monday night, emphatically stating that Cinram's Huntsville operations will not be impacted by a bombshell announcement made earlier in the day.
Cinram confirmed that it planned to file for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the United States. Court records show that the Toronto-based company currently has more than $500 million worth of debt, and just $50 million in total assets. Brown said the bankruptcy filing was required in order to move forward on a deal that allows Cinram to sell off its DVD production business to Najafi Companies. That means Najafi will soon take over the Huntsville plant off Moores Mill Road, which currently employs more than 1,500 people.
Brown said Najafi ownership has personally assured him that they will keep the plant open and not make cutbacks other than the seasonal ones that are made every year.
"Employment will remain the same, the company will still be Cinram," said Brown. "The Huntsville facility played a huge part in the acquisition of Cinram on a global basis...No one has ever visited that facility and not been impressed, and Mr. Najafi is extremely impressed with the facility...The changes you are going to see down there are security, stability, and we're very positive about attracting more work into Alabama."
Brown also said that the newly-owned company will still operate under the Cinram name. The selling price was not disclosed, but officials said the money from it would be used to pay off Cinram's creditors.
Najafi Companies is a private investment firm headquartered in Arizona. Officials there were not available for comment.