As unlikely as it might sound, it looks as if the Chinese government is going to end up owning the 117-year-old Huffy Corp.
The Miamsburg, Ohio-based bicycle company has agreed to sell off its stock to the Sinosure Group — a Chinese government agency that offers credit insurance to Chinese exporters, many of whom are Huffy suppliers.
A federal bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved the plan, which also allows Huffy to turn over its pension responsibilities for some 3,000 retired workers to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.
Huffy ran into trouble after it bought Gen-X, a Canadian company that sold bikes, as well as backboard, golf supplies, skates and snowboards. Huffy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2004 after losing money for three years.
In a press release, Huffy said it plans to focus on its bicycle and golf club businesses.
Huffy traces its roots back to the Davis Sewing Machine company that made its first bike in Dayton, Ohio, in 1892. Horace Huffman sold off the sewing machine business in 1925, but made bike accessories under the Huffman Manufacturing name. In the '40s, it created the Huffy convertible bike — a kid's bike with training wheels.
Today Huffy makes mountain bikes, kids bikes, scooters, chopper bikes and comfort bikes. They're sold through mass marketers like K-Mart and Wal-Mart.