Engine maker Briggs & Stratton files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy

WAUWATOSA — Briggs & Stratton Corp., billed as the world's largest manufacturer of small gas engines, has filed for bankruptcy protection citing challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Monday.

As part of the Chapter 11 filing, the Milwaukee-area company said Monday it has secured debtor-in-possession financing of $677.5 million from KPS Capital Partners LP, the private equity firm purchasing its assets, and its existing lenders to allow it to continue operating ahead of the closing of the deal.

“Over the past several months, we have explored multiple options with our advisors to strengthen our financial position and flexibility,” Chief Executive Todd Teske said in a statement. “The challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic have made reorganization the difficult but necessary and appropriate path forward to secure our business.”

The filing allows Briggs & Stratton to fully support its operations through the closing of the transaction, the company said in the statement. It does not include any of Briggs & Stratton’s international subsidiaries.

The company was founded in Milwaukee in 1908 by Stephen Foster Briggs and Harold M. Stratton. Its engines are used in lawnmowers, pressure washers, electrical generators and other products.

Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents, according to its website.