Pollution-control firm selling out

July 06, 2005|By Rhasheema A. Sweeting | Rhasheema A. Sweeting,SUN STAFF

Environmental Elements Corp., a nearly 60-year-old Baltimore company that produces air pollution-control equipment, has filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell its remaining operations.

The company, in a statement, blamed the bankruptcy on increased competition and higher prices for steel and other raw materials.

The bankruptcy filing follows a trend of downward sales and profits over the past three years. Sales plunged to $27.5 million in 2004 from $43.7 million in 2003 and $71.9 million in 2002, according to the company's most recent annual report for the fiscal year that ended in March 2004.

Environmental Elements was a publicly traded company until May, when the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to delist its stock. The company's stock last traded at 2 cents per share. In April 2003, the company's stock price reached a high of $2.19 after the announcement of a $1.1 million deal to supply parts to a Chinese electrical plant.

The company sought bankruptcy protection to complete remaining contracts and then sell the business, according to Lawrence Coppel, a lawyer who is representing the company.

"We're hopeful that we'll be able to enter into agreements within a 60- to 90-day time frame," said Coppel, of the Baltimore law firm Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander. Coppel said interest has been shown in the company's U.S. and European operations.

Environmental Elements had 105 employees as of March 2004, the most recent number available.

FTI Capital Advisors is handling the company's marketing and acting as its sales agent. Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. will provide financing to the company during the bankruptcy proceedings.

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