G. Heileman Brewing Co. Inc., equipped with a plan to repay its principal debt and backed by its major secured creditors, filed today for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Heileman has been troubled by debts as a result of its acquisition in 1987 by the Bond Corp. Holdings Ltd., an Australia-based brewing, media and property conglomerate. Bond paid $1.2 billion for Heileman.
Founded in La Crosse, Wisc. in 1858, Heileman is the nation's leading regional brewer, with plants in its headquarters city of La Crosse, as well as in Baltimore, San Antonio, Texas, Seattle, and Portland, Ore. The company's nearly 2,000 employees produce a wide range of beers, including non-alcoholic beer, malt liquors and sparkling waters, distributed by 1,600 independent wholesalers in the United States and Canada.
The Baltimore plant, founded in 1961, is located in the Halethorpe area and employs 400 workers who brew several brands of beer, including Colt 45, National Premium and National Boh and Champale.
The bankruptcy will not affect the location operations. "It will be business as usual," said a company spokesperson.
"The company's operations and business plans will not be affected by the court-supervised reorganization," said Thomas J. who joined Heileman last week as chairman and chief executive officer.
The Chapter 11 filing in the Southern District of New York was on behalf of Heileman, its subsidiaries, and its parent company, Bond Corp. North America.
Heileman's secured debt totals $580 million. The company said in a release that the agreement culminates a year of negotiations with its secured creditors, consisting of a syndicate of major U.S. and Canadian banks and holders of a 1980 public debenture offering.
The company has not determined how the holders of $200 million in unsecured subordinated notes will be treated as a result of the bankruptcy filing.
A consolidated balance sheet issued last September showed Bond Corp. and its subsidiaries had total liabilities of $3.6 billion and total assets of $2.8 billion.