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Bad News... Owner of Vermont Castings files for bankruptcy

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Vermontster, Apr 20, 2008.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    "Americas Choice".......sad........

    I guess that is what happens when products labeled Vermont Castings are made in China too! Not that I am a protectionist - far from it! But you don't call it Vermont Castings when you do that! Nor Americas choice.......

    People in China need to eat also. In fact, they are probably more needy of nutrition than your average American. The problem seems to be the lack of any national trade policies in the USA - we have capitulated to a government by the corporations and for the corporations, and that has taken us to the point of placing the wealth and decisions in the hands of about 1/1000 of one percent of the population. I listened to an interesting podcast yesterday, from the author of a new book "Rise of the Superclass" and he details how there are about 6600 people in the world who have virtually TOTAL control over the 600 million other wealthiest people. 600 million being 10% of the worlds population (including you and I) who live at a very high standard of living.

    He details all the problems we hear about, such as CEO pay now being 200x the average worker as opposed to being 20X as it was 30-40 years ago. He also dispels the myths that we need to pay people that much to get performance, noting that NEVER in the history of the world has it taken that kind of reward to make people take chances or work hard.

    But, all in all, it seems that "we" have bought it hook, line and sinker. We sit by and allow the passage of new laws making the tax burden LOWER for hedge fund managers making hundreds of millions a year! Why we put up with this is beyond me - but some people speculate that all the poor people who favor giving advantages to the superclass think that just maybe THEY will be there someday.....fat chance!

    And today we hear again about 14 BILLION in profits for the major oil companies in this 3 month period alone. The transfer of wealth from the middle class to the very wealthiest is dizzying. But the oil companies are taking out full page ads saying that when they make money, WE ALL make money, because after all - many of us have some oil companies in our mutual funds.

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  2. slindo

    slindo Member

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  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds pretty accurate.

    Seems to cover the type of "leader" that Colin was.....somewhat shameless. No one ever came to me and said good things about him, more like they feared him (his employees and underlings).

    I'm sure he has a lot more than that 10 million, having probably sold a lot of shares in-between.
  4. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Great discussion, and good link to "The Gasman's" article.

    As the Bush economy "unsurges," I never thought I'd see late-breaking, cutting-edge financial/managment analysis here, on www.hearth.com, but I think I just did--kudos to all posters. Talk about a "full service" website! :)

    Well done. Hopefully, a knowledgeable "deep pockets" player will step up, and salvage the best of VC.
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Patriot, here you can get political advice, spiritual advice, DIY advice as well as breaking news. In the case of VC, you heard the rumors here FIRST.....perhaps a month or more before the actual news hit. Then you heard the news about 10 days before it showed up in the VT papers! We had a surge of visitors as folks googled CFR Bankruptcy - we were the only site to be found!

    Don't you love the internet?
  6. moondoggy

    moondoggy New Member

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    holy crap that was a good read.
    had no idea it was even close to that.. and always wondered why the Teachers were involved.

    worst part is, I feel like this is whats going on around my company, and its only a matter of time. we arent public or anything, but things are really
    getting strange and anyone who knew what they were doing has been canned.
  7. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Craig,

    How right you are...I guess I should have figured this site would be a "node" for a VC-type story, even including financial analysis. Congrats on what was surely thousands of unique, new "hits"!

    And yes, I do love the internet--I just hope the malevolent, "Corporatocracy" business interests are not successful in their attempts to make the internet "pay as you go," unfree or "pay MORE for high speed". Since the real news is rarely found in the MSM (mainstream media) or, as it is now becoming known, as the "Corporate Media," I hope "they" don't decide to turn the "internets" off, someday, you know?

    I like these sources, for news:

    www.rawstory.com
    www.huffingtonpost.com
    www.truthout.org

    Moondoggy:

    --I'm sorry to hear about the gathering storm at your job. Unfortunately, I've seen that process up close, where knowledgeable peeps get "canned" or otherwise "incentivized" to quit--I know, because I was one of them. I told my employer not to merge with another company and they ignored me (admittedly, it was waaay above my pay grade, but as our customers did not want us to merge, either, one would have to be blind or BRIBED not to see it was a DUMB idea). P.S.: 7 years later, they've "unmerged" themselves. The purchase price was $39 BILLION--7 years later, they sold their purchase for one-fifth of what they paid. But insiders put the actual losses at $100 BILLION, (with a "B") for my former employer.

    Yet the architects of that HORRENDOUS BLUNDER still have jobs--high-paying jobs....

    I could have saved them $100 BILLION--but hey, who listens to the guy who answers the phone, and "just" gives technical advice, and has product knowledge?

    And like you said--the knowledgable are gone, yet I hear many of the lackeys and "yes-men" (and women) managed to maintain in their mediocrity.

    Do you suppose that's only an American business practice, to condone bad judgement (particularly where "cronyism" is in play) and allow such folks to "fail upward"?

    And while America's "last century" fossil-fuel-based energy policies break the bank, forward-thinking Spain and Germany lead the world in installed windpower, the U.S. greenback continues to tank, Iran decides to no longer trade in U.S. dollars, for oil, VC bites the dust, large retail chains close thousands of outlets and...where does it end?

    Wait! Don't answer that. I'm afraid Depression 2.0 is going to become known as "The Greater Depression...."

    Moondoggy--start practicing mediocrity in the mirror...it may save you. Nobody in Congress seems to get fired or "recalled."

    Speaking of "mediocrity"--just last week, House Speaker Nancy ("off the table") Pelosi said that nationally, gasoline was only $2.65/gal. WTF? It's at least $3.65 in my world! She is so out of touch, it reminds me of back in the '80's, when H.W. Bush didn't know what the UPC bar code scanners in grocery stores were! (Because he never had to pay for his own groceries, obviously.) And House Rep. John Conyers still doesn't know what NSPD-51 is (read about it here: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=55824 And lest someone dismiss that 'lil bit 'o MARTIAL LAW as "moonbat liberal nonsense," you will note that, in Jerome Corsi's bio, at the bottom of the page, he authored the book that "swiftboated" John Kerry, i.e., "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry." It seems Corsi is now Dr. Frankenstein-like, and fears his own creation--Bush--, no? But I digress....)

    So, Conyers is the HEAD of the JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, but he doesn't know that there is a martial law statute on the books that DESTROYS OUR THREE BRANCH, "BALANCE OF POWERS" SYSTEM OF GOV'T., and places the Executive Branch in control of the Legislative and Judicial branches, based solely on the whim of our "prez-nit," the self-described "Decider," who can decide that something rises to the level of a "catastrophic emergency" and--'nuff said! No more Constitutional-based, "balance of powers" representative gov't. And Conyers knows nothing of this--I heard him interviewed and called his office, Friday. ZZzzzzz....

    But, in fairness to Conyers, NSPD-51 has only been on the books for...ONE YEAR! (It was "edicted" by "The Decider" on May 9th--of 2007.)

    What, you hadn't heard? See what I mean about the "news" media being absent?

    And actually, "mediocrity" is too high a degree of praise for Pelosi--"dereliction of duty" is better. Where are the renewable energy development incentives Congress promised us? Aren't they set to completely expire in 11/08, while we CONTINUE TO GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE OIL COMPANIES? WTF?

    Wouldn't you agree that, since at $6,000, say, on avg., (if you don't DIY, or add in a splitter, saw, etc...) wood heat would be an excellent "entry level" green technology for the average homeowner? That's way less than the typical $12,000., grid-tied solar install (and that's using incentives to get down from the $30,000. avg. solar-retail price--incentives, again, that expire this year!)

    How about tax credits for wood burners, Pelosi? Right....

    Seriously, moodoggy, and all of the rest of us--good luck.
  8. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Man--why does this discussion just keep on going political? Just build something that people can depend on , and makes them feel secure. Big mistake imo was letting cfm buiild stoves and inserts with only 3/16 steel. big mistake. sure as hell doesn`t give me any confidence in the product.

    eg: I bought one with 5/16 steel on top and 1/4 on the sides--and on this thread I am not going to blow the horn for what I bought, just damn glad I did. and for only a lousy $1500, when it comes to fire, people want quality, thats it period, and VC used to do that. And if they ain`t willing to continue to do that, then this is what happens.. period!!
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/File:cfm-monitors.pdf/

    is a link to the first Monitors report from the Court in Canada, RE:CFM

    You legal eagles can read it, but it appears they are moving fast to try and find buyers for the pieces, because they know the season is coming soon and that the company loses even more value if they do not get it together soon. It only mentions one bid - for a part of the "Mass" business (big box) to the GHP Group, a maker of glass doors which I have never heard of.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The "Mass business" represents the portable kero/propane heater inventory and the electric fireplace inventory. A pittance in the grand scale of things. Only around five million in inventory value. GHP is gonna get the electric fireplaces and Mr. Heater the portable heaters.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Here's a link to GHP. Note on the bottom of the site they say "BBQ grills coming soon"

    "At GHP Group, we are committed to designing and manufacturing quality products that enhance the home environment.
    Our fireplace and heating products promote energy efficiency in the home using the latest design trends in home furnishings. "

    http://www.ghpgroupinc.com/index.htm
  12. redhat

    redhat Member

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    Here's a link to the second report dated May 2nd:


    CFM Monitor's Second Report
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Is it telling that they do not mention the Vermont business? In other words, they mention no bids or negotiations - and you would think they would have to if such were ongoing.
  14. redhat

    redhat Member

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    I completely agree, if there were ongoing negotiations or bids for VC it would be documented. The lack of activity is rather troubling, perhaps there are no parties interested in VC? I have more than a passing interest in Vermont Casting's future, back on Feb 20th (prior to the plant shutdown and CFM filing chapter 11) I placed an order with my local dealer for a Cat Encore 2550. With VC's production at a standstill the past few months my dealer has been unable to fill my order and it's now beginning to look like I may never take delivery.
  15. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Interestingly enough I have now spoken with two large stove shops that carry VC along with other brands, who tell me that VC stoves continue to sell well, and that they have noticed no fallout from the bankruptcy. They also both made little of the bankruptcy, assuring me that VC would quickly find a buyer and be better off for shedding the rest of the CFM empire. Did make me wonder how much they were telling those customers!

    Though come to think of it one of them was the same shop where a month or so ago I was assured that rumors of bankruptcy were false, since "the teachers have a huge amount of money, and are not going to let their investment go bad".
  16. MiamiBeach

    MiamiBeach New Member

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    Well, count me as one of those customers no one was saying much to!! JUST had a Vermont Castings gas fireplace (ExtremeView) installed in a small house in Vermont. Not an inexpensive little puppy by the time I added various upgrades. Unbelievable. I literally have not even seen it on yet - the propane hadn't been hooked up when I was there a couple of weeks ago. Grrrr. So what happens now if it's not right or something goes wrong?
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Builder in a condo I was looking at was installing Majestic Fireplace in them. He didn't know they were kaput.

    Was driving through VT yesterday and it was all over NPR in VT. They mentioned 150 out of work in the VC plants there.

    But it never did hit the mainstream, and it is obviously not in the interest of dealers to tell their customers since they have inventory, floor models, etc.

    I do guess that it will be taken over and go on, but that is pure speculation. If anyone really knew anything, it would be in that report or in the rumor mill.

    Miami, I'm sure you will get backup from the dealer and installer - the brands is almost 100% to go on in some form or fashion.
  18. MiamiBeach

    MiamiBeach New Member

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    Ta-daa!

    Attached Files:

  19. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Well, I didn't find out about it until last week. I wouldn't intentionally hide such news from my customers. I just hadn't been keeping up with hearth.com! Anyway, most of us dealers have no intention of leaving our customers without answers and support. As soon as we know how it all shakes out we'll let everyone know what they can expect.

    Personally, I think there is little chance that the VC and Majestic parts will be abandoned. We'll continue to service all our VC and Majestic customers even if we no longer get our replacement parts from "VC" as we knew it.

    Sean

    P.S. Kurt Rumens (Travis Industries president) told an amusing story last weekend about his encounter with the former CFM CEO. He predicted in that conversation, over ten years ago, that before it was over he (Kurt) would be offering to buy VC for 10 cents on the dollar. The CFM guy was trying to make a play for Travis at the time. But Kurt saw the hand-writing on the wall. After he left us in Buffalo he was on his way to Randolf Vermont to make his bid.
  20. MiamiBeach

    MiamiBeach New Member

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    Thanks for qualming my fears. I suspect the dealers that are here on Hearth.com are a uniquely good bunch.
  21. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, a new tidbit....that's a juicy one!

    Travis industries buys VC........along with Kurt, I could have made that guess. The stories about the ex-CEO were quite depraved. In the end, good intentions, hard work and clean living win the day (well, sometimes!).

    A lot of people are unaware that Travis Industries has other holdings other than the stoves - not sure exactly what at any given time, but at various times included aluminum and brass foundries, etc.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    MacCrae's has this listing for Travis:

    Manufactures heating equipment; gas, wood, pellet stoves & built-in fireplaces Heater elements, Induction heaters, Doors for heating equipment, Boiler or heater ignitor, Burners, Plate heat exchanger, Shell and tube heat exchanger, Radiators, Heat exchangers, Fireplaces, Furnaces, Heat pumps, Solar heating units, Heating stoves, Circulation heaters, Coil duct heaters
    http://www.macraesbluebook.com/search/company.cfm?company=456647

    heatpumps, solar heaters?

    Here's a nice bit of history:
    http://www.djc.com/const/cis.html?id=11117049

    Looks like Rumens was an early rocker. Did you and Kurt ever jam together?
  23. shorewood

    shorewood New Member

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    Thanks for the information and links to the Monitors report. Worth looking at since VC has a good group in place, good area and good brands.
  24. fishbabysquirl

    fishbabysquirl New Member

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    My parents have worked at CFM Majestic in Huntington since the mid 80's and the way it is starting to sound, they are pretty much screwed. It would have been great if the jobs went overseas because then they could at least be able to go to school for something. Pretty much right now, they are hoping the gates will not be locked when they go to work monday morning.
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