By Becky Killian, Editor
A Gray manufacturing company that employs about 170 people has been sold.
Jackson MSC was sold by the Manitowoc Company to Hoshizaki USA Holdings Inc. The sale was effective Monday, according to Steve Khail, director of investor relations and corporation communications for Manitowoc in Wisconsin.
James McDowell, finance director for Jackson MSC, said no jobs will be lost in Knox County and he emphasized that Hoshizaki wants the business to grow.
“We are all extremely excited about the prospect of working with Hoshizaki,” McDowell said.
Employees at the facility learned about the sale Monday. McDowell said representatives from Hoshizaki were present. Over the weekend, McDowell said representatives from United Steelworkers were notified so they could be present, too.
Of the company’s about 170 employees, McDowell said 120 are union workers.
When asked about the company’s contract with the union, McDowell said he believes the contract with Manitowoc would have expired in April. He said Hoshizaki recognizes its obligations to the union and the need to bargain with them.
Hoshizaki, which is headquartered in Japan, is the world’s largest producer of ice machines, McDowell said. The company, which has two Georgia facilities that manufacture ice machines, has had a presence in the U.S. for about 30 years.
Hoshizaki wanted to expand into the warewashing business and Jackson MSC — which manufactures commercial dishwashers — was the only warewashing facility owned by Manitowoc.
“We were a natural fit for them,” McDowell said.
Manitowoc had owned Jackson MSC since 2008, according to Khail and McDowell.
A press release issued by Manitowoc indicted the sale’s net proceeds were about $26 million.
Calls made to the United Steelworkers Union representative for the Jackson MSC facility weren’t returned Wednesday.