Amfuel Files Bankruptcy, Wichita Falls Location to Close Down
With Christmas just days away, the timing could not be worse. A company that was awarded $2 million dollars in incentives to relocate to Wichita Falls will be out of business here in a matter of days, after less than two full years in business.
Amfuel, a manufacturer of aviation fuel cells, moved to Wichita Falls in 2016 after lengthy negotiations with the City of Wichita Falls. Amfuel received a grant of $2 million in 4-A Economic Development funds to make the move here. Original plans included hiring some 300 employees. But the plan never took off.
Amfuel announced last week it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 20 employees at the Wichita Falls location were told this week that they would be let go. The employees have been offered the opportunity to relocate to Amfuel’s Magnolia, Arkansas operation if they so desire.
The big question now is what happens to the 4-A money Amfuel received? Wichita Falls Chamber President Henry Florshiem told News Channel 6 on Tuesday that most of the money offered to Amfuel was never paid ‘because the performance was not met’. Florsheim says that incentives that have been paid to Amfuel to date are around $594,000, $51,000 of which reportedly went to cash-for-jobs.
The balance of the money was a loan for equipment. Florsheim says the city ‘has a collateral position on that…so there's a good chance the city will get paid back for some or all of that investment’. Of course, that recovery will be based entirely on the decision of the bankruptcy court.
It’s not the first company to fail to deliver on promises growth in the Wichita Falls economy. Over the past few years, WDS Global and Natura World have also closed operations in the city after have received large sums of economic development funds. It’s unclear how much, if any, of those funds the city was able to recoup.
Amfuel says it will cease operations completely in Wichita Falls by December 31st.