Mainland suppliers and a government insurer are expected to assume majority control of Huffy Corp, one of the oldest and largest bicycle manufacturers in the United States. Once a Fortune 500 company, Huffy filed for bankruptcy protection in October last year and announced overnight on Tuesday a tentative equity-for-debt restructuring agreement that would privatise the firm and effectively transfer control to mainland interests. The proposal would enable a group of mainland suppliers represented by state-owned China Export and Credit Insurance Corp (Sinosure) to elect a majority of Huffy's board and over the course of five years to obtain a 51 per cent stake in the company. Founded by George Huffman, who made his first bike in 1892, the Ohio-based firm has ranked the No2 US bicycle maker after Schwinn for the past four decades. But the firm's high labour costs and increased competition from domestic upstarts and foreign imports led to a string of layoffs throughout the 1990s, by the end of which Huffy had been forced to close the last of its three US plants and source all its products from lower cost suppliers in China. Under the restructuring plan, which is subject to approval by creditors and an Ohio bankruptcy court, the suppliers represented by Sinosure would receive a US$3 million note, a 30 per cent stake in the firm and controlling voting rights. The other creditors would get a US$9 million note and a 70 per cent stake via subsidiary B shares. Huffy's largest unsecured creditor is the Shenzhen Bo-An Bike, a Taiwanese joint-venture factory that is owed US$16.7 million.