Lewis Equipment Co. Inc. on Sept. 18 filed for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas. The 24-year-old Grand Prairie, Texas.-based crane-and-lift supplier listed over $100 million in assets and liabilities.
Calls to Lewis executives were not returned. The company is the exclusive North American dealer for China-made Yongmao SunCrane tower cranes, Zoomlion mobile- and-crawler cranes and Hercules elevators. Lewis bought Verticon’s New Zealand tower- crane and hoist division for $11.75 million in late 2007, as well as $33.9 million of Zoomlion truck cranes about 18 months ago.
According to court records, the company has 200-plus creditors. The largest unsecured creditors include San Antonio-based Frost National Bank ($18.5 million); FCC Equipment Financing, a unit of Caterpillar, ($17.5 million) and Las Vegas-based Jake’s Crane ($1.3 million), among others.
Equipment suppliers have been hard hit by the global economic downturn. Lewis had over two dozen cranes and hoists working at Las Vegas projects that have since been mothballed or now are finishing. Cancellations represent 10% of construction backlogs, while delays are four times longer than normal, according to FMI Corp.
Lewis is not alone. Nashville-based Equipment Finders of Tennessee Inc. filed for Chapter 11 in September with $10 million to $50 million in assets and liabilities. Florida Equipment Co., AVT Equipment Co. and Florida Trucking Co.—units of 53-year-old, Tampa, Fla.-based Kearney Construction Co.—filed for bankruptcy in August.