Ryland Group's plant is for sale


The Ryland Group Inc. is trying to sell its 16,000-square-foot New Windsor manufacturing plant, but a sale is not imminent.

"Ryland is looking into selling the manufacturing plant," said Bob Coy, manager of the Ryland Manufacturing Center on Tibbetts Lane. "Ryland is looking to get out of the manufacturing business, but there's nothing definite."

If the facility is sold, Ryland would look to the new owner to supply home building materials to the company, said Anne C. Madison, vice president of communications for the Columbia-based home builder.

The New Windsor plant employs about 135 people and makes wall panels, components and trusses for Ryland, the nation's third-largest home builder.

"The New Windsor plant will continue to operate," Ms. Madison said. "We are looking into the potential sale of that plant."

Ryland is considering selling the plant "so we can focus on our core business of designing and marketing homes and communities," she said.

Ryland has three other manufacturing plants in the United States and is in the process of selling one, Ms. Madison said. The Harrison, Ohio, plant is being sold to one of its suppliers, Eagle Industries of Indianapolis.

Eagle Industries will retain Ryland's 57 employees and will continue to supply housing components to Ryland, according to a statement issued by both companies last month.

Ryland's other manufacturing plants are in Shelby, N.C., and Houston, Texas, Ms. Madison said.

Potential buyers have looked at the New Windsor plant, and employees have been given information about the potential sale since late last year, Mr. Coy said. "The morale is pretty good."

Paul Denton, president of Maryland Midland Railway Co. in Union Bridge, said Ryland is "a good customer" and it would be "tragic" for his company to lose its business.

Mr. Denton, who also is president of the Carroll County Economic Development Commission, said he knows of two prospective buyers who have looked at the Ryland plant. He declined to name the companies.

The plant is among the railroad's top six customers, but business has declined. The amount Ryland ships from New Windsor is down 20 percent compared with last year, Mr. Denton said.

Several years ago, Mr. Denton said he met with Ryland officials about installing a second spur at the plant because business was increasing. Nothing ever came of the meeting, he said.

Ryland has undergone some change since Chairman and Chief Executive R. Chad Dreier took over in November 1993. The company has implemented new marketing, land buying and design strategies to try to become more profitable.

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