Bloomberg News

Asarco, Allied Holdings, EMerge, Payton: Bankruptcy

March 22, 2007

Asarco LLC turned back opposition from its parent, Grupo Mexico SA de CV, and won approval of a new union contract that increases wages by $3 an hour over the life of the agreement.

The new contract also gives each worker a $3,000 bonus when the agreement is ratified. Grupo Mexico said the new collective bargaining agreement gives the union ``virtual control over any plan of reorganization.''

Approving the labor agreement doesn't resolve all conflicts between Asarco, the Arizona copper producer, and Grupo Mexico.

Asarco blocked Grupo Mexico from receiving a $40.5 million tax refund. Asarco also sued its parent company in February, accusing it of fraudulently transferring Asarco's 54 percent ownership in a Peruvian copper mine called Southern Copper Corp.

The mine, formerly known as Southern Peru Copper Corp., was transferred to another subsidiary of Grupo Mexico before Phoenix- based Asarco filed its Chapter 11 petition.

Asarco filed Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, in August 2005 to resolve asbestos claims. Grupo Mexico acquired Asarco for $1.2 billion in stock six years ago.

The case is In re Asarco LLC, 05-21207, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas (Corpus Christi).

Yucaipa and Shareholders Have New Dispute Over Allied Holdings

Yucaipa Companies LLC and an ad hoc committee of shareholders of Allied Holdings Inc. got into a new dispute two days after U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ray Mullins in Atlanta refused to order the formation of an official shareholders' committee.

Allied, based in Decatur, Georgia, is the largest U.S. hauler of new automobiles.

Anticipating opposition to the Chapter 11 reorganization plan through which it would take control of Allied, Yucaipa served notices to examine under oath all seven members of the ad hoc committee and their financial adviser, Jeffries & Co. Inc. Yucaipa also seeks the production of documents.

The ad hoc committee asked the bankruptcy judge on March 15 to throw out the subpoenas, which the group called ``harassing.'' The committee said discovery is premature because there isn't a pending dispute.

The ad hoc committee includes Aspen Advisors LLC, Hawk Opportunity Fund LP and Cypress Management Advisors LLC.

Yucaipa, the Teamsters Union and Allied are joint proponents of a reorganization plan filed this month that would give shareholders nothing.

Billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa will take control of Allied by swapping debt for stock. Yucaipa holds more than half of the $197 million in unsecured claims. The plan distributes stock in exchange for the claims of unsecured creditors.

In its Chapter 11 petition, filed in 2005, Allied listed assets of $132 million and debt of $180 million.

The case is In re Allied Holdings Inc., 05-12515, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta).

Payton Construction Files With $66 Million in Cash, Receivables

Payton Construction Corp., a contractor that remodels offices, filed a petition on March 16 to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Payton said in a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston that it has $8 million cash, $58.3 million in accounts receivable and no secured creditors.

Outstanding contracts represent $158 million in future billings, according to the Boston-based company's president. Payton blamed the filing on a $17 million loss in 2005, its first and only annual loss, the president said.

Payton listed $32.5 million in debt owing to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. The company has 225 employees.

The case is In re Payton Construction Corp., 07-11522, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

Davenport Iowa Diocese Sets July 16 Deadline to File Claims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, and its creditors' committee asked the U.S. bankruptcy judge to establish July 16 as the last day for filing claims. The judge agreed.

The diocese filed a Chapter 11 petition last October on the heels of a September jury verdict awarding $1.5 million on a sexual-abuse claim. The diocese had avoided filing in October 2004 by agreeing to a $9 million settlement with 37 sexual-abuse claimants.

Unlike some other dioceses, Davenport separately incorporated its parishes years ago. The diocese's petition listed assets of $4.5 million.

The Davenport diocese is one of five to use Chapter 11 in dealing with sexual-abuse claims. The Diocese of San Diego entered Chapter 11 in February. The Diocese of Tucson confirmed a plan in July 2005 that established a $22.2 million trust for sexual-abuse claimants. The dioceses of Portland, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington, have reached settlements on the way toward confirmation of Chapter 11 plans.

The case is In re Diocese of Davenport, 06-02229, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Iowa (Davenport).

Omaha Building in Condo Conversion Files, World-Herald Says

Brandeis Lofts LLC, the owner of a century-old, 10-story building in Omaha, Nebraska, filed a Chapter 11 petition on March 14, the eve of a bank foreclosure, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Investors paid $8.7 million for the building in 2005 and were in the process of converting the property to residential condominiums, the newspaper said.

The case is In re Brandeis Lofts LLC, 07-80482, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Nebraska (Omaha).

Dental Imaging Company Files to Reorganize After Insurers Balk

Cavitat Medical Technologies Inc., the developer of an ultrasound imaging device for use in dentistry, filed a petition on March 1 to reorganize under Chapter 11.

Based in Emory, Texas, near Dallas, the company said it filed because insurers wouldn't cover procedures performed with the device, according to a story in the Denver Business Journal.

Cavitat listed assets of $1.4 billion and debt of $671,000.

The case is In re Cavitat Medical Technologies Inc., 07- 11734, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado (Denver).

EMerge Interactive Sells Assets for Almost $2 Million

EMerge Interactive Inc., a developer of technology for the livestock and meatpacking industries, was authorized on March 16 to sell its assets to two buyers for almost $2 million.

EMerge announced approval of the sales in a press release before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in West Palm Beach, Florida, filed the order approving the sales.

The price reached at auction exceeded the initial offer from the Biegert Family Irrevocable Trust, the company's largest shareholder. The trust was prepared to buy the cattle-tracking business in exchange for a $1.5 million loan owed to the trust.

Origin Micro Systems LLC is paying $1.6 million for Sebastian, Florida-based eMerge's CattleLog business, which helps cattle producers determine whether animals meet industry specifications.

Chad Inc. is taking other assets for $370,000.

EMerge sought Chapter 11 protection in February after a proposed merger with PRIME BioSolutions LLC was terminated. The petition listed assets of $4.5 million and debt of $2.6 million.

The case is In re eMerge Interactive Inc., 07-10932, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach).

Hardware Wholesaler Right-Way to Be Sold for at Least $5 Million

Right-Way Dealer Warehouse Inc., a privately owned wholesale hardware distributor that filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, said it abandoned its plans to restructure and will sell its assets.

Those assets include an operation in Brooklyn, New York, that the company said is profitable.

Five Star Products Inc. submitted an initial offer of 76 percent of the cost of inventory and receivables. The creditors' committee calculated that price at about $5 million. In addition, Five Star will assume as much as $130,000 in debt.

Any competing bids are due by April 2.

In its petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston, Brewster, New York-based Right-Way listed $8.7 million in assets and $10.6 million in debt.

The case is In re Right-Way Dealer Warehouse Inc., 07-10355, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

New York Racing Association Can Use $32 Million in State Funds

The New York Racing Association Inc. received approval March 16 for the state of New York to provide up to $32 million in financing for this year.

The association previously arranged for $42 million in new financing to be secured by all of its assets, including the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks. The state objected, saying that it owns the three thoroughbred courses.

Financing from the state, approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York March 16, sidesteps the ownership question by allowing the association to operate through the end of the year.

The financing doesn't resolve all disputes between the association and the state.

Calling itself the association's largest creditor, New York said the association is an instrument of the state and isn't eligible for Chapter 11 protection. The state asked the bankruptcy judge in December to dismiss the Chapter 11 case filed in November. The association sued the state in December, accusing it of taking its property without compensation.

Three weeks after the Chapter 11 filing, the state's Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing selected Excelsior Racing Associates to take over the franchise to operate the racetracks after the association's franchise expires this year. The association has held the franchise to operate the tracks since 1955.

The association's Chapter 11 petition listed assets of $153 million and debt of $310 million.

The case is In re The New York Racing Association Inc., 06- 12618, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Hyatt Wins Preliminary Approval to Pay $445 Million for Hotel

Hyatt Corp., with 215 hotels in 43 countries, won preliminary approval to pay $445 million for the assets of Azabu Buildings Co., including the 1,230-room Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa and the adjacent King's Village shopping center.

The sale remains contingent on final approval of Azabu's Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu scheduled a confirmation hearing for May 3 to consider approving Azabu's reorganization plan.

Azabu's creditors filed an involuntary petition in 2005 in Honolulu. Azabu converted the case to Chapter 11 in February. The company listed $613 million in secured debt and $4.2 billion in unsecured claims.

The case is In re Azabu Buildings Co. Ltd., 05-50011, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii (Honolulu).

Downgrades

Bally Total Fitness Gets Downgraded After Bankruptcy Discussed

Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. (BLLY:US) had all of its ratings lowered by Moody's Investors Service Inc. in response to its March 15 announcement that it may be forced to file for Chapter 11 protection if it can't restructure debt.

The fitness club chain's corporate and senior unsecured note ratings were lowered two pegs, to Caa3. Its subordinated notes also were lowered two notches, to Ca.

Moody's listed a consensual swap of subordinated debt for stock as one of Bally's alternatives to restructuring.

Bally said March 15 that it had $827 million in debt and might receive a going-concern qualification from its auditors. Such a warning would mean that the auditors have substantial doubt about Bally's ability to continue operating.

Bally's share price plunged 62 percent to a one-year low of 75 cents on March 16, the day after the announcement. That was the steepest decline since the company was spun off nine years ago from Bally Entertainment Corp.

Bally had revenue of $1.1 billion in 2005 and has 390 locations. Bally's brand names include Pinnacle Fitness, Crunch, Gorilla Sports and the Sports Club of Canada.

Standard Pacific Downgraded on Worries about Covenant Coverage

Standard Pacific Corp. (SPF:US), the Irvine, California-based homebuilder, was issued a one notch-downgrade by Moody's Investors Service.

The builder's new corporate, senior note and subordinate note ratings are Ba3, Ba3 and B2, respectively.

Moody's predicts that the company may come ``very close'' to breaking a loan covenant this year.

Standard Pacific had revenue of $3.9 billion in 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Rochelle in New York at wrochelle@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick Oster at poster@bloomberg.net.


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