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Bloomington limestone firm to close, lay off 166

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An 88-year-old Indiana company that supplied limestone to many of the country’s most important buildings is going out of business, putting 166 employees out of work.

Bloomington-based Indiana Limestone Co. Inc. notified the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that it would close “its entire operations and permanently lay off its entire workforce as the result of pending bankruptcy proceedings and the possible sale of the assets of the company.”

The notice, dated Feb. 21, was posted online by the state Monday.

ILC is the largest limestone quarry company and fabricator in North America, according to its website. Over the years it has supplied limestone for the construction of numerous landmark buildings, including the Empire State Building, Pentagon and the National Cathedral, as well as 35 state capitol buildings.

The company said the closing will take place during a 14-day period ending May 11 and involve employees in Bloomington and nearby Oolitic.

About half of the employees are represented by one of four unions: the Laborers International Union of North America, the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Journeymen Stonecutters Association of Indiana.

Resilience Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Cleveland, acquired ILC from Columbus-based Johnson Ventures in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

Resilience merged the company with Victor Oolitic Stone Co., which it acquired in 2009. The company has struggled with debt since the merger and owes creditors tens of millions of dollars.
 

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  • Private Equity
    Not sure where some of you are getting your info on how private euqity operates. PEG's solicit banks, pension funds, etc. for investments offering a larger return than the local bank's certificate of deposit (to keep it simple). A lot of bank's, pension funds, etc. have done this type of investing for many many years and are happy with the returns they receive. PEG's intend to make money on every deal, I assure you. Some are home runs, others singles, doubles and a few strike outs. A PEG fund survives if they make money, there is no incentive not to make money, if they lose money they will not find investors for future funds. Keep in mind too, the owners of these two companies made out big when they sold to Resilience Capital Partners. Someone was pretty happy with the deal at one time.
  • Concur
    Excellent summation on how PE choked as good company to death. I remember the string of PE deals, each one taking an ever larger bit in special dividends with each traunch of debt. Sad
    • Probably not gone for good
      Someone will buy the assets on the cheap and probably make a go of this business at a much lower debt level. The union labor probably did not help the cause. TC, you have been watching too many movies. Private equity firms are in the business make money not lose it. I am sure they thought they could make it work with the debt level and so did the bank that financed the deal. There are a lot of private equity deals that do quite well, this one unfortunately did not. I think IN limestone will live on under a new company.
    • It was killed
      This entity did not 'die' it was killed by private equity doing a leveraged buyout and then b/k'ing it so they don't have to pay the leverage off. I bet the investors/directors of Resilience Cap Partners aren't bankrupt? Just another strategy used in the world of M&A. Use other people's money to buy a decent asset, strip that asset of all value, load debt on top of it, used carried interest to pay yourself (banker/partner/investor) at a low tax rate, claim hard times in the industry and then b/k it. Reorganize with no debt and then sell off the asset again a couple years after the b/k. Rinse and repeat for the next decade! P.S. Bet they also used the pension plan and levered it up.
      • They Will be Remembered
        This is, like basketball, what Indiana is known. LIMESTONE! Not just smooth rock with micro cells of air to withstand freeze and thaw, but what symbols are carved from and monuments are clad. To lose this tradition is beyond sad, and it had nothing to do with talent or the lose of it. It had to do with folks changing in their mindsets of business and trades, to let modernism evoke cost cutting. We are in a green-push to make things more clean, and lower in carbon. And we let the last large limestone fabricator, faulter. Sure. They may have had to high overhead, too high labors cost due to union, retired benefits, and medical costs. But how does brick survive? How does cement siding suggest permanence. A company has died today. A tradition. An image. Sure, there will new ones filling the gaps, or in 10-years after the lawsuits die down, a green shoot will emerge. I pray for that better day!

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