Heileman says it has nod to reorganize Formal OK expected from creditors soon

October 11, 1991|By Kim Clark

G. Heileman Brewing Co., the maker of National Bohemian beer and owner of a brewery in Halethorpe, has won informal approval from its creditors to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy, the company announced yesterday.

The debt-burdened maker of regional brews ranging from Lone Star in Texas to Old Style in the Midwest said that by next Wednesday it will send out ballots on its new reorganization plan to all its creditors. Heileman officials said they hope the company will be released from court oversight by late November.

Heileman, which has five breweries nationwide, has 400 employees in the Baltimore area.

The announcement comes two months after a previous Heileman reorganization plan was opposed by some creditors, who complained that the company was being unrealistic and was handing out worthless stock to holders of $200 million in Heileman's "junk bonds."

But yesterday, Jeff Friedman, a New York attorney representing Heileman's suppliers and other creditors, said that he now has "no doubt Heileman will emerge" from bankruptcy.

Though there were some minor changes, the new plan still leaves Alan Bond, an Australian tycoon, with only 3 percent of the company's stock, he said.

Mr. Bond tried to build a global brewing empire with borrowed money in the mid-1980s. In 1987, he bought Heileman, which is based in La Crosse, Wis., for about $1.2 billion.

Heileman's reorganization plan gives a majority of the company's stock to the banks that lent Mr. Bond the money to buy Heileman. Suppliers will get a series of payments and will eventually recoup 70 cents for every dollar Heileman owes them, Mr. Friedman said.

All other creditors will get a share of a $11.8 million fund set aside for them, he said. And holders of junk bonds will get 18 percent of the reorganized company's stock, he said.

Mitchell Perkiel, one of Heileman's bankruptcy attorneys, said that Heileman still plans to sell some of its assets to raise the cash it needs to pay debts and keep operating.

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