Payouts for Arthur company’s employee-owners will impact local economy, officials say | Employment

ARTHUR — Village President Rod Randall said he won’t know how much of a boon the upcoming sale of C.H.I. Overhead Doors will be for his community’s economy until he learns more of the details.

He hadn’t yet had any contact with the buyer, Nucor Corp., he said Tuesday.

“I don’t know how this company will react to our community,” Randall said. “Hopefully it’s going to be a good relationship and that we can work together and do something for the community.”

The global private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., which has owned Arthur-based C.H.I. since 2015, announced the $3 billion sale to Nucor on Monday — along with the news that all 800 C.H.I. employees will receive sizable payouts for their ownership shares.

KKR made employees owners after buying C.H.I., without any exchange involved concerning employee benefits, wages or wage increases.

KKR spokeswoman Kristi Huller said the amount of individual payouts will be based on each employee’s tenure, and all employees will be keeping their jobs in the transaction.

According to a video of a May 11 meeting shared by KKR, Pete Stavros, co-head of private equity for the Americas at KKR, told cheering employees that next month, they will receive payouts for their shares ranging from $20,000 to $400,000, depending on their tenure.

Those who joined the company this year will get $20,000, and those who joined last year will get $40,000, he said.

Those who joined in 2020 will get an average payout of $75,000, and those employees who have been with the company since 2018 and 2019 will get two-and-a-half times their annual salary, for average payouts of $120,000.

Employees who joined between July 2015 and 2017 will get three-and-a-half times their annual salary, for an average of $180,000, Stavros said.

Longer-term employees who joined the company between 2010 and July 2015 will get an average payout of $240,000 — four-and-a-half times their annual pay, he said.

Those who came on board between 2000 and 2009 will average $300,000 payouts for their shares, five-and-a-half times their annual pay, and any employee with the company since before 2000 will get six-and-a-half times their annual pay, averaging payouts of $400,000.

“What amazing progress you all have made with this company,” Stavros said.

He also told employees that the company will be doing their income taxes due to the added complexity they will face as a result of the payouts and has prepaid for financial counseling for all of them.

Stravos also said he’d be enlisting employees’ support in planning a huge community celebration to be held in about a month.

C.H.I. CEO Dave Bangert told employees the sale wouldn’t affect anyone’s pay, and that Nucor wants and needs all current employees to continue growing the business.

“We’re going to a fantastic fit,” he said.

Randall said some employees live in Arthur, but many also live in surrounding communities — so he doesn’t know what kind of economic impact the payouts will have on the economy of his town.

Some employees may want to buy homes or upgrade the one they have, he said, and “I wish we had more housing available.”

Houses that do become available in Arthur are snapped up in a matter of hours, he said.

Randall also said he knows some employees at C.H.I. are nearing retirement and may opt to take their payouts, retire and buy homes elsewhere.

“We might lose some really good people,” he said.

For now, Randall said, he’s being cautious until he has more information.

Still, he said, “anytime something like that happens and several employees get this nice a windfall, good things should come out of it.”

In terms of impact on the economies of some nearby Douglas County communities, Arcola City Administrator Bill Wagoner said some employees may splurge, but he also looked for people to take advantage of the opportunity to build their savings.

“It’s kind of a life-changing number for many people,” he said.

Tuscola City Administrator Drew Hoel said the payouts will “certainly introduce some cash into the local market.”

Both he and Wagoner said there are C.H.I. employees living in their communities, though neither knew how many.

“I would suspect everywhere within 30 miles is fairly well represented in their employee base, and probably farther than that on a smaller scale,” Hoel said.

The payouts are sure to yield some good impacts for Tuscola, he said, and “what a complete boon for Arthur.”

Arthur Realtor Sue Falk with Legacy Land Co. said she thinks the county housing industry could be affected by new buyers, and more remodeling and expansions could also be on the horizon.

“Our community is proud,” she said. “These folks work hard, are loyal to their company and have excellent work ethics.”

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