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Judge OKs sale of DesignLine assets

A bankruptcy court judge in Charlotte has approved the sale of virtually all of the assets of bus maker DesignLine, raising questions about the future of the company.

According to court documents, the assets are expected to be sold later this month. The sale includes equipment, inventory, customer data and investment property, among other things.

The company’s headquarters arein an industrial area just off Westinghouse Boulevard in southwest Charlotte, where it makes hybrid and electric buses. In 2006, the company’s headquarters were relocated to Charlotte from New Zealand.

According to court records, “capital constraints” have prevented DesignLine from growing its operations to achieve profitability. The company had operating losses of $25.8 million in 2010 and $24.1 million in 2011, the records show.

In July, the company entered into an arrangement with a prospective investor expected to provide needed cash. But the investor backed out of the deal that same month, records show. Following the loss of that investor, DesignLine began laying off staff at the beginning of August, the same month it filed for bankruptcy protection.

All but roughly 12 workers have been laid off, according to court records.

DesignLine employed former Mayor Anthony Foxx, who became U.S. transportation secretary in July.

Roberts: 704-358-5248; Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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