The German parent of Chattanooga wind tower maker SIAG Aerisyn is filing for insolvency, and the local plant manager said it's unclear how that will affect the business and its 95 employees.
"We're working today," Joe Kelly, general manager of the factory off Riverfront Parkway, said Monday. "We expect to work tomorrow."
Kelly said SIAG Schaaf Industrie AG is filing for insolvency in Germany in a Chapter 11-like bankruptcy. That would allow SIAG Schaaf to continue to operate while it reorganizes its finances, he said.
Kelly said Aerisyn has a contract with a customer that can keep it working for several months.
"We're still operating as usual," he said.
SIAG Schaaf acquired Aerisyn, which started up in Chattanooga in 2005, in August 2009 with plans to invest about $3 million into the local business. The company leases space from nearby Alstom.
The German company has 10 production sites in Europe, Africa and America plus a trading and quality assurance site in Singapore. Worldwide, the company has about 1,800 employees.
When Aerisyn was purchased, its German parent anticipated the Chattanooga operation eventually could employ up to 240 workers.
Ellen Carey, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association, said wind generators are producing a growing share of electricity in the United States and wind energy companies have boosted the share of U.S.-built equipment from about 25 percent domestic content five years ago to about 60 percent today, she said.
But Carey said federal production tax credits are slated to expire at the end of this year and that has created uncertainty about future wind investments.
"With the looming expiration, we're already seeing an effect on the wind industry business," Carey said.
Kelly said Monday he would learn more details about how the SIAG's actions would affect local operations in the future.
"As of right now ... we're moving forward," he said.
SIAG Chief Executive Rudiger Schaaf, who started the business with his wife over 30 years ago, said in Chattanooga in 2009 that he liked North America's future in the wind power sector. At the time, SIAG projected revenues for 2009 of about $307 million.
Contact Mike Pare at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6318. Follow the latest Chattanooga news on Facebook.