31 May 2011

Canterbury bus maker in liquidation

10:54 pm on 31 May 2011

Bus maker Designline has gone into liquidation.

A hearing was held at Christchurch High Court on Tuesday morning and the business, known for its hybrid electric battery and fuel buses, closed its doors at 2pm.

The company has a factory at Rolleston near Christchurch and is understood to employ about 100 people.

Designline was started in Ashburton in 1985 and purchased by an American company in 2006. Its corporate headquarters is based in North Carolina and it has a factory in the United States.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union spokesperson Ged O'Connell says about 60 members work at the Rolleston plant.

Mr O'Connell told Checkpoint Designline moved to the site a few years ago when it could not attract staff in Ashburton, and says the company seems to have got itself into too much debt.

"It was substantially damaged in the first earthquake in September, so that added to their woes, and there's been a lot of rumours swirling around about their financial viability.

"I understand that the American owners have been obviously affected by the international recession, maybe more so than we

would normally have expected in New Zealand."

Mr O'Connell says staff are shell shocked at the news.