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By Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — As the curtain falls on one of the most devastating financial years on record, business bankruptcies — both large and small — continue to soar.
The nearly 58,000 commercial bankruptcies filed nationwide through November of this year exceed the year-end totals of every year since Congress overhauled the bankruptcy laws in 2005, according to Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, an Oklahoma City bankruptcy data company.
The 11-month figure is also 35 percent more than the nearly 43,000 business petitions filed in all of last year, the company’s data show.
The Distressed Company Alert, a weekly newsletter about troubled public companies, typically adds five to 10 companies a week to its list.
These days, it’s adding 18 to 24 a week.
In Delaware, where many out-of-state companies file incorporation papers, bankruptcies have jumped 243 percent from last year. Many companies file in Delaware because the bankruptcy process tends to move faster there, said Gregory R. Stone, an assistant finance professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
When the recession began last December, businesses nationwide were filing an average of 206 bankruptcy petitions a day. That average has increased steadily since June, reaching 318 per day in November.
Commercial bankruptcy filings are up 111 percent in Oregon, 91 percent in Utah and 83 percent in California, which leads the nation with nearly 12,000 business filings this year.
By Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2008
Automated Access To Court Electronic Records
U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Near 1 Million Mark for This Year
Bankruptcy filings in the U.S. have almost topped 1 million this year, with one month to go.
Another 91,355 companies and individuals sought court protection from creditors in November, according to data compiled by Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, a service of Jupiter ESources LLC in Oklahoma City. A similar number in December would push the total for 2008 to around 1.1 million, up 33 percent from last year.
Daily filings climbed 2.6 percent last month from October, and “exceeded 5,000 per day for the first time since the 2005 changes to the bankruptcy law,” Mike Bickford, AACER’s president, said in an e-mail. He expects a total of more than 1.1 million filings for the year.
Per capita, the most filings are in Tennessee, followed by Nevada, Georgia and Alabama.
There were 590,500 filings in 2006 and 827,000 in 2007.
Bankruptcy filings, state by state, 2005-2008
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings by state, by jurisdiction
CreditCards.Com created an interactive bankruptcy map utilizing AACER data.
A rash of retailing bankruptcies is expected in the United States in the new year, but as the clock winds down on one of the weakest holiday shopping seasons in decades, the fallout has already begun.
On Monday, the Parent Co., an Internet retailer of children’s products, had the dubious distinction of apparently becoming the first well-known retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after Christmas. The company made the filing along with nine of its subsidiaries, including eToys. Many analysts did not expect bankruptcy filings to begin until January or February.
Michael Wagner, chief executive of the Parent Co., called the bankruptcy filing “an unfortunate but necessary and responsible step to preserve the company’s value for our stakeholders in light of the ongoing challenging retail environment.”
The Parent Co., based in Denver, is majority owned by D.E. Shaw & Co. The company, which listed assets of $20.6 million and debt of $35.7 million, is seeking permission for a $10.9 million operating loan from a Shaw affiliate to keep operations running while it seeks a buyer.
Challenging is hardly the word. This year, retailers including Circuit City, Boscov’s, Sharper Image, Mervyns, Linens ‘n Things, Whitehall Jewelers and Steve & Barry’s filed for bankruptcy protection.
And that is very likely the tip of the iceberg. After studying more than 180 companies, AlixPartners, a restructuring firm, estimates that over the next 24 months there will be a fourfold increase in the number of retailers in deep distress — companies that do not have enough working capital or are unable to finance their debt.
In New Jersey, where 47 percent of hospitals posted losses in 2007, five of the 79 acute-care hospitals closed this year, and a sixth may close soon. In Hawaii, nearly every hospital is in trouble, with two filing for bankruptcy and one nearly closing recently.
Bankruptcy News – View Bankruptcy News Across the US
Bankruptcy News – Read the latest Bankruptcy News headlines in the US from this week. Search Bankruptcy News articles in various local markets. Stay up-to-date on Bankruptcy News and other Industry News on bizjournals.com.
Jump to: Monday
- Glens Falls plumbing company files for bankruptcy after dispute with former executive [Albany]
- Win.Net files for Chapter 11 protection [Louisville]
- Kokua Festival put on hold this year [Honolulu]
- Man pleads guilty in $2.5M Tacoma lumber firm embezzlement [Seattle]
- BryanMark names Price K.C. office head [St. Louis]
From the January 2, 2009 print editions
- Retailers set to darken, downsize [Atlanta]
- Coming up in 2009: Carmakers have much to prove in ’09 to win over consumers, legislators [Columbus]
- Suit settlement not quite painless for Payneless Credit [Dallas]
- Bankruptcy filings up 122%: The jump in filings is only the beginning, experts say [Orlando]
- Leesburg furniture retailer files for Ch. 11 [Orlando]
- Bank objects to Kobra turnaround costs: Umpqua says money for specialist could be used to pay down debt [Sacramento]
- Westshore Boulevard projects hammer bank: Between August 2004 and July 2005, the price per acre for property increased from $282,000 to $2.4 million [Tampa Bay]
- Muslim passengers removed from AirTran flight (15)
- Business Pulse: Should Wade Phillips remain coach of the Dallas Cowboys? (15)
- Most Americans say media making crisis worse (13)
- Washington Legislature will mull naming state candy (11)
- Business Pulse: Union or non-union? (11)
( Well, there’s the important things – yeah, right. – my comments – There are still places and people pushing the idea that the media reporting anything about reality makes things worse and then, as above – insisting that everyone in America believes that. No we do not.)
As Vacant Office Space Grows, So Does Lenders’ Crisis
Vacancy rates in office buildings exceed 10 percent in virtually every major city in the country and are rising rapidly, a sign of economic distress that could lead to yet another wave of problems for troubled lenders… Read More
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Electronic portal for bankruptcy courts and access to information directly from government sources – US
Business Bankruptcy Headlines for 1/5/2009
Ausam Energy Chapter 11 Petition Filed
Ausam Energy (fdba Northlinks Limited) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Noram Resources, filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas, case number 08-38223. This oil and gas exploration and development company is represented by Matthew Scott Okin of Okin Adams & Kilmer. The Company announced that the filings were necessitated by its inability to secure new equity or debt financing on terms acceptable to the Company’s current primary lender and that it “believes that the Chapter 11 filing provides it with the best chance of preserving the value of its business assets and maximizing the return to all of the stakeholders of the Company.” On December 8, 2008, the Company announced that it had “accepted with regret” the resignation of William M. Hitchcock as chairman and director.
Constar International Chapter 11 Petition Filed
Constar International and four affiliates filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware, lead case number 08-13432. The Company is represented by Neil B. Glassman of Bayard. The Company supplies PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic containers for conventional applications throughout North America and Europe. Michael Hoffman, president and C.E.O. of Constar, said, “We are pleased to have received support from the holders of a majority in principal amount of our subordinated notes for a pre-arranged and consensual restructuring that significantly improves our balance sheet by eliminating $175 million in debt, reduces our annual cash interest obligations by approximately $19.3 million, and frees up cash to reinvest in our business to support future growth. We intend to continue to operate as usual during the restructuring process with minimal disruption to the business and our constituencies. We intend to pay all of our obligations in full – which includes providing pay and benefits to our employees as usual, honoring all contracts, and paying suppliers in full.” Constar International also announced that it has received commitments from its existing bank lenders to provide the Company with debtor-in-possession and exit financing of $75 million. The $75 million exit financing facility provides for committed financing for the three years following the closing of the D.I.P. financing.
Propex Exit Financing Approved
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Propex’s motion for an order authorizing entry into a proposed exit financing agreement with a Wayzata Investment Partners and to pay (I) a work fee of $150,000 and (II) related expenses. On December 11, 2008, Wayzata Investment Partners sent the Debtors a non-binding letter agreement expressing interest in providing the Debtors with a delayed draw term exit facility in the amount of $65,000,000 that will mature in four years after the effective date of the Plan. Wayzata Investment Partners is a 19% holder of the Debtors’ pre-petition secured term debt facility and has had ongoing access to the Debtors’ financial information.
Chesapeake Chapter 11 Petition Filed
Chesapeake Corporation and 18 affiliated Debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, lead case number 08-36642. The Company, which supplies specialty paperboard and plastic packaging, is represented by Benjamin C. Ackerly of Hunton & Williams. The Company also announced that it has reached agreement with required lenders on its $250 million senior secured credit facility on an amendment and extension to December 30, 2008 of their forbearance agreement. Under the amendment, the lenders have agreed that they will continue to forbear from exercising their rights and remedies against the Company and its subsidiaries in respect of (i) existing financial condition covenant defaults and (ii) the corporation’s failure to pay the interest payment that was due on November 15, 2008, to the holders of its 10-3/8% senior subordinated notes under the senior secured credit facility. Andrew J. Kohut, Chesapeake’s president and chief executive officer, commented, “The extension of the forbearance agreement provides us additional time needed to finalize arrangements with these groups to strengthen our short- and long-term financial liquidity and implement a financial restructuring.”
Heller Ehrman Chapter 11 Petition Filed
Privately-held law firm Heller Ehrman filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of California, case number 08-32514. The filing was announced by the firm’s dissolution committee following a previous announcement of the firm’s intention to dissolve. Heller Ehrman is represented by John D. Fiero of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones. According to the announcement, the dissolution committee “hoped to wind down the firm’s operations in an orderly fashion without resort to the Bankruptcy Court, and indeed has made great progress in collecting accounts receivable and in negotiating with creditors. The Dissolution Committee decided to seek protection under Chapter 11 due to the refusal by its two bank lenders to agree to terms that, in the business judgment of the Dissolution Committee, were fair and equitable to all creditors of the Firm.” Dissolution committee chairman, Peter Benvenutti, commented, “This is not a result of the firm’s running out of money. On the contrary, due to the positive responses received from hundreds of former clients, collection of accounts receivable over the past three months has been strong.”
Interstate Bakeries Grievances’ Status Reported
Interstate Bakeries filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a “Notice of Status of Prepetition Union Grievances.” The notice states that on November 3, 2004, the Court directed the Debtors to file every sixty days a summary statement of the number of prepetition union grievances that have been resolved and the aggregate dollar amount of such grievance resolutions. To that end, Interstate Bakeries states, “since the Petition Date, approximately 400 prepetition union grievances have been resolved with an aggregate dollar amount of such grievance resolutions being approximately $270,000.” The Court confirmed Interstate Bakeries’ Plan on December 5, 2008, but the Company has not yet emerged from Chapter 11 protection.
DESA Chapter 11 Petition Filed
Privately-held DESA and five affiliated Debtors filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware, lead case number 08-13422. This zone heating and specialty tools manufacturer and marketer is represented by Laura Davis Jones of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones. According to documents filed with the Court, the Company’s largest creditor is Hong Kong-based Interpro Manufacturing, which is owed $3.1 million. Predecessor company DESA Holdings emerged from a previous Chapter 11 filing on April 12, 2005, after being sold to DESA LLC, formerly known as HIG – DESA Acquisition LLC.
The Parent Company Chapter 11 Petition Filed
The Parent Company (aka Baby Universe) and nine of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware, lead case number 08-13412. This content, commerce and e-media provider is represented by Laura Davis Jones of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones. “This action is an unfortunate but necessary and responsible step to preserve the company’s value for our stakeholders in light of the ongoing challenging retail environment,” said Michael Wagner, C.E.O. of The Parent Company. The Company announced that it has engaged Oppenheimer & Co. to explore strategic alternatives, including a sale of some or all of its businesses. On December 24, 2008, the Company received a Nasdaq Staff Deficiency Letter notifying the Company that it was not in compliance with the requirements for continued listing set forth in Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(14) because of its failure to timely file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended November 1, 2008.
Tribune Hiring Approvals Sought
Tribune filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court motions seeking to retain Lazard Freres & Co. (Contact: James E. Millstein) as investment banker and financial advisor for the following fees: a monthly fee of $200,000 and a $16 million restructuring/disposition fee; Daniel J. Edelman (Contact: Jeff Zilka) as corporate communications and investor relations consultant at hourly rates ranging from $320 to 550; Reed Smith (Contact: John D. Shugrue) as special counsel for certain litigation matters at the following hourly rates: paraprofessional at $105 to 315 and attorney at 245 to 905; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker (Contact: Richard A. Chelsey) as special counsel for general real estate and related matters at the following hourly rates: associate at $405 to 560, of counsel at 645 and partner at 765 to 825; PricewaterhouseCoopers (Contact: William T. England) as compensation and tax advisor and independent auditor at the following hourly rates: paraprofessional at $150, associate at 225, senior associate at 290, manager at 400, director/senior manager at 565, managing director at 675 and partner at 780; Jenner & Block (Contact: David Bradford) as special counsel for certain litigation matters at the following hourly rates: project assistant at $150 to 160, paraprofessional at 160 to 260, associate at 325 to 535 and partner at 525 to 1,000; McDermott Will & Emery (Contact: Blake D. Rubin) as special counsel for general domestic legal matters at the following hourly rates: paraprofessional at $105 to 345, associate at 285 to 590 and partner at 445 to $1,010; Alvarez & Marsal North America (Contact: Thomas E. Hill) as restructuring advisor at the following hourly rates: administration/analyst at $175 to 350, associate/senior associate at 275 to 450, director/senior director at 375 to 550 and managing director at 525 to 750 and Sidley Austin (Contact: James F. Conlan) as attorney at the following hourly rates: paraprofessional at $95 to 385, associate at 240 to 650, senior counsel at 400 to 875 and partner at 575 to $1,100.
W.R. Grace Objection Filed
Roberta A. DeAngelis, the U.S. Trustee assigned to the W.R. Grace case, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a preliminary objection to the First Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization of W.R. Grace and Company, et al., the official committee of asbestos personal injury claimants, the asbestos personal injury future claimants’ representative and the official committee of equity security holders. According to the objection, Article 8 of the Plan contains various provisions regarding releases, channeling injunctions for personal injury and property damage claims, injunctions for general claims and the discharge of the Debtors. As such, the Trustee asserts a preliminary objection to the various release and injunction provisions set out in Article 8 of the Plan, including that such provisions are in violation of relevant Third Circuit law and 11 U.S.C. § 524(g). In addition, Section 11.8 of the Plan contains a broad exculpation clause that may not be appropriate under relevant Third Circuit law, and Section 7.14 of the Plan contains provisions that the Debtors are deemed consolidated for Plan purposes only.
– a selection from today
One comment from me – the media didn’t cause this, the poor people in America didn’t cause this and people feeling good or not didn’t cause this. It’s sort of like when the powers that be believed that the earth was flat – it didn’t make it so and neither did not believing that make it round.