Cannondale punching time clock for adding jobs

Recent layoffs at Cannondale Sports Unlimited, maker of Cannondale bicycles, have caught the attention of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), which is still waiting for the company to create 75 new jobs to satisfy a loan agreement.

“Yes, they’ve had layoffs,” confirmed David Treadwell, spokesman for the DECD, based in Hartford, after reports surfaced in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News that Dorel Industries in August was trimming the payroll at its Dorel Sports division, reducing its global workforce in the division by about 4%. The exact number of layoffs was not available.

Cannondale is one of the brands Montreal, Canada-based Dorel manufactures.

Word of the layoffs is significant because under the terms of a 2013 state loan of $3 million over 10 years at 2% annual interest, the company must retain its original 143 jobs and create 75 more for a total of 218 jobs — an average it must maintain for 12 months — to be in good grace with the terms of the loan.

If the company can keep those job levels, $2 million of the loan will be forgiven. If not, the company must pay a penalty for each job missing in the equation.

“They have until Aug. 14, 2017, to create and retain a total of 218 positions. They have to maintain an average of those positions for 12 consecutive months,” Treadwell said. “Technically, the clock on them is up Aug. 14, 2018, and that is when we would do our job audit to determine whether they are in compliance with the contract or not.”

There is time for Cannondale to right itself.

“Yes, they’ve had layoffs, but they could still meet their obligations. We won’t know that until further down the road,” Treadwell said.

Cannondale used the $3 million loan to help it move from Bethel back to Wilton, where the company began decades ago.

The company  handles marketing, research and development, and product design in approximately 50,000 square feet of leased space in i.Park on Route 7, at the Wilton/Norwalk town line.

Cannondale Sports Unlimited, formerly Dorel Recreational/Leisure, carries one of the broadest brand ranges in the cycling industry.

The company did not return an email request for comment on whether it had shed 55 jobs last year and 18 jobs this year, which was the number being circulated in the business community.