65 Orange jobs appear saved

ORANGE >> A Wichita, Kansas, aerospace company appears to have come to the rescue of a manufacturer whose corporate parent is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Harlow Aerostructures has agreed to acquire most of the assets and some of the liabilities of Aerospace Holdings, including Valley Tool and Manufacturing, on Prindle Hill Road.

Unless a higher bidder comes along while Aerospace Holdings remains under federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Harlow will take control of Valley Tool and two sister aerospace companies, according to legal documents.

Matthew Sedigh, a Southern California attorney, has been named the chief restructuring officer. Sedigh said Valley Tool and the sister companies are expected to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under Harlow’s ownership around May 20.

The Harlow acquisition comes at an opportune time for Valley Tool’s 65 employees. The company recently filed a notice with the state Department of Labor saying it planned to shut down its 40,000-square-foot factory during the first week of June. Sedigh has said that Harlow will retain all of Valley Tool’s employees with unchanged pay and benefits.

The filing was just a formality that was part of the legal process associated with the bankruptcy filing, Sedigh said.

But Valley Tool President Larry Feinn told state labor officials in a recent letter that the company would cease operating due to what he termed “unforeseeable economic circumstances.”

Those circumstances, according to the bankruptcy filings, involved “liquidity constraints caused by the unexpected cancellation of two long term projects and reduced defense spending,”

Valley Tool was founded in 1984 and became part of a portfolio of companies owned by Corinthian Capital, a private equity firm in New York City, in a 2010 recapitalization. Corinthian then combined the Connecticut company with another aerospace firm, GroupAero of Long Beach, California.

GroupAero and Valley Tool have secured $1.5 million in credit from Harlow, according to legal documents that are part of the bankruptcy filing. The money will allow the companies to continue usual operations while Harlow’s proposed acquisition makes its way through the bankruptcy court supervised sale.

Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.