TUSCALOOSA, ALA. - A federal bankruptcy judge has reduced drastically a judgment in favor of a German machinery maker against Southeastern Recycling Industries Inc., clearing the way for SERI to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Judge George S. Wright ruled March 3 that machine maker Refakt Anlagenbau GmbH breached a contract it had with SERI to provide the Tuscaloosa-based recycler with a washing and cleaning line for post-consumer plastic film capable of handling 3,000 pounds of scrap per hour.
Because it did not fulfill its obligations, the judge said, Refakt of Meckesheim, Germany, should receive only $266,541.15 for the machinery, instead of the $3.8 million called for in the con-tract.
Howard Blair, SERI president and chief executive officer, called the reduction a victory, even though SERI has spent more than $1 million to modify the machine, and now must pay more.
Blair told the court that after spending $2.541 million for the equipment, including repairs, it now can accept 2,200 pounds per hour, about 73 percent of the capacity the machine was supposed to have.
``We have the machine producing - although still only at two-thirds of what they said it would do - and we can develop a plan to come out of Chapter 11,'' Blair said.
Blair said the company was forced to file for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 1992, after Refakt filed a claim to be paid for the machinery.
SERI, which operates only the one line at its sole Tuscaloosa location, does toll washing and cleaning of all sorts of plastic film, including stretch film.
Refakt could not be reached for comment.