RV maker Monaco Coach files for Chapter 11

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COBURG, Ore. (AP) - Recreational vehicle maker Monaco Coach Corp., which has seen sales plunge amid the recession, said Thursday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company said it plans to continue operating as it prepares to sell off parts or all of its business.

The RV maker, which sent termination notices to nearly all its remaining employees earlier this week after an unsuccessful 20-month turnaround effort, said it owes between $100 million and $500 million and has assets in the same range.

The Coburg, Ore.-based company estimated it has between 25,000 and 50,000 creditors.

"We understand how difficult the events of the past several months have been on everyone at the company, and we recognize the changes personally affect many people," Monaco Coach Chairman and Chief Executive Kay Toolson said in a statement. "Further, we understand and deeply regret the effect of the action taken today on vendors and others with whom we have business relationships."

Monaco Coach has been hammered by the continued downturn in demand for its RVs. The company's products, which include the Monaco, Holiday Rambler, Safari, Beaver, McKenzie, and R-Vision brand names along with several motorhome-only resorts, are tied closely to consumer confidence, which has hit historical lows amid the recession and rising unemployment.

Earlier this year, the company said it hired Imperial Capital LLC to explore strategic alternatives, including a possible joint venture or merger.

Monaco Coach said Thursday it is continuing to work with Imperial Capital.