- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

SNYDER, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska company that specializes in making fire trucks is being sold to a publicly traded Michigan company for $36.3 million.

Smeal Fire Apparatus has 400 employees in Nebraska, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It wasn’t immediately clear how the employees would be affected by the deal announced Tuesday with Spartan Motors, which is based in Charlotte, Michigan. The deal is set to close in January.

Firetruck manufacturers like Smeal have been consolidating to increase market share due to a decline in truck orders. Spartan’s product line is not as specialized as Smeal, which provides buses along with military, recreational and emergency vehicles.

Smeal currently buys about $30 million worth of structural framework from Spartan, the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2gJ2G6t ) reported. The sale terms include financial forgiveness of money that Smeal owes Spartan for recent purchases.

Spartan will determine what happens to Smeal’s manufacturing locations and employees, Spartan marketing director Samara Hamilton said. She said combining the companies would most likely increase overall business, which could require more need for employees.

Smeal Chairman Rod Cerny issued a statement saying Spartan was “the perfect fit” for its customers and employees. Spartan President and CEO Daryl Adams said the purchase would enhance his company’s emergency vehicle products and expand the geographical reach of its buyers.

About 230 people work at the Smeal’s headquarters in Snyder. Smeal also has operations in Neligh.

Smeal became one of the 10 largest fire apparatus companies in the nation after acquiring an aerial ladder business and a tanker company in 2014. Combining with Spartan would make the combined company among the top four.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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