• A garage door manufacturer is being sold and its workers are set to receive a payout, Axios' Pro Rata noted Monday. 
  • Hourly workers and truck drivers at C.H.I. Overhead Doors will get an average of $175,000, the company said. 
  • This is because of an employee equity program instituted by C.H.I.'s former owner, KKR, a private-equity firm.

A big payday is coming for all 800 workers at C.H.I. Overhead Doors — not just for the bigwigs. 

Nucor Corporation, a steel manufacturer, is buying C.H.I. for about $3 billion, and because of the company's original owner, employees will receive a payout on existing equity, Axios Pro Rata's noted Monday. 

On average, hourly employees and truck drivers will get $175,000, and some could earn more, past $400,000, the newsletter added Monday. 

People who have been at C.H.I. for longer will get "substantially more," than the average, according to a press release announcing the sale

When KKR — a private-equity firm that promotes employee ownership — bought C.H.I, it enrolled all of the company's employees in a program where they could own equity in the company for free and seamlessly, according to the release.

"All 800 employees — from those who work in the factory to those who drive trucks to those who work in the corporate office — were made owners in the business," the statement said.  "We are proud to be a part of an industrywide movement on employee ownership," KKR told Insider.

If an employee made more than $100,000, they could invest some of their own money in the program, but could not otherwise, the WSJ reported

Telling employees about the upcoming windfall was "the most rewarding moment of my career," said Pete Stavros, a top executive at KKR, according to Axios Pro Rata

When he did, "the room erupted in whoops, hollers and thunderous applause," the WSJ wrote, citing a video of the event. 

C.H.I. is a major presence in the small town of Arthur, Illinois, where it's based, the outlet added

 "I can't explain how much it's going to change not just people's lives here — it's going to change this entire community," Josh Ryan, an assembly-line supervisor, told the publication. 

He told the Journal the money is going to help him send his kids to college — and that his three family members who work at C.H.I. will take home $750,000 total from the sale before taxes. 

Workers will also get a free year of financial coaching and tax help via Goldman Sachs Ayco Personal Financial Management and Ernst & Young, the release said. 

"C.H.I. is a powerful testament that creating a culture of ownership works," Stavros added in the release. 

KKR bought C.H.I. in 2015 for over $600 million, per the WSJ. Besides improving things like safety standards and cafeteria, revenue went up by almost 120%, according to the release.

"The sale will represent one of KKR's largest returns in recent history," the release added.  KKR said it has awarded billions in equity value to non-senior employees in more than 25 companies. 

Stavros, of KKR, also created a nonprofit, Ownership Works, which promotes employee ownership in companies. 

On the Meet the Leader podcast from the World Economic Forum in April, Stavros said that his dad worked in construction and was involved with his union, which inspired the son to learn about labor relations, and eventually, help people build wealth through his work at KKR. 

"Ownership of corporate equities is one of the big drivers of wealth inequality today," he said on the podcast. 

"Equity is really a path to building wealth and it's difficult for employees to really get ahead just on their labor alone. That's not great," he added. 

Nucor and C.H.I. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. According to the release, the sale will close late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter.

Are you a C.H.I. employee? Want to chat about what you're doing with your windfall? Reach out to gbienasz@insider.com

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