ClearEdge Power

ClearEdge Power in South Windsor said in a letter to employees and state officials last week that it has "no reasonable option except to close its operations and pursue a bankruptcy filing." (Brian Dowling, Hartford Courant / April 24, 2014)

Amid word of broad corporate restructuring, workers at ClearEdge Power in South Windsor were sent home Thursday, uncertain about what the future holds for their company or their jobs.

Briefed by the company Thursday afternoon, Town Manager Matthew B. Gallagan said the fuel cell manufacturer will seek some form of bankruptcy protection.

"They are going to restructure. It's some form of bankruptcy," Gallagan said.

Nancy Flagg, president of the Machinist union local that represents nearly a hundred workers at the plant, said her members were sent home early Thursday, told they would be paid through the week, and were not given any more information.

She said she was not given notice of the action by the company, and had no further comment on the situation.

Steve Gerbsman, a crisis manager for ClearEdge, said the company has no comment on the situation.

Other calls to company spokeswomen by The Courant have not been returned, neither have calls to members of ClearEdge Power's board of directors.

Flagg said her members reported seeing salaried workers packing up their belongings as well.

ClearEdge Power, headquartered in Oregon and founded in 2003, bought the South Windsor facility from United Technologies Corp. in early 2013 as part of its strategy to focus more on aerospace and building systems. Months later, ClearEdge cut about 170 out of 300 employees.

ClearEdge Power sold its first fuel cell unit in 2008, and it has one location in Oregon and two in California. In 2013, the company had 280 employees, according to a Department of Energy study.

In January, the State Bond Commission approved $1.4 million in subsidized loans for ClearEdge and a $100,000 grant for training new staff. Almost half of the loan would be forgiven by the state if the company retained 17 jobs and created 80 new jobs.

Jim Watson, a spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which manages the State Manufacturing Assistance Program that the aid would be through, said ClearEdge in early April decided not to pursue the state aid package.

ClearEdge Power executives in February spoke optimistically about the company's future in an interview with the Hartford Business Journal, saying they wanted to double their sales to $200 million through an expansion of their South Windsor campus and research investments.

"Energy is a pretty hot space," David Wright, the company's chief executive, told the business journal. "We are going to grow the company … and we are well on our way."