Film and sheet maker Firstline Corp. voluntarily filed March 6 for Chapter 11 protection from creditors, and the company is looking at alternatives that may include refinancing or finding a strategic partner.
The filing was made in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Macon, Ga., and gives the company relief from debts, suspending payments until a reorganization plan is developed and approved by the bankruptcy court.
``We are continuing operations. The problem arose from an overly restrictive lending partner that has, in our view, not lived up to an agreement we had. They are overly collaterized by assets, and the lending formula did not include assets that they were holding,'' said Firstline President Donald Murphy.
Murphy stressed that the company was solvent. In court documents, Firstline listed assets of $37 million vs. debts of $26.5 million. Murphy added that Firstline had $70 in overall sales in 2005.
He said that Firstline has been in business since 1972. Firstline now has more than 400 employees, with operations in Valdosta and Pearson, Ga. The company makes products for many industries, including building and construction, marine, agriculture and industrial. It does laminations and pallet overwrap, as well as shrink, stretch and barrier films.
The company purchased the assets of polypropylene woven fabric maker Cady Industries of Pearson in May 2004. Murphy said Firstline reopened Cady about six weeks after it had shut down, and doubled the number of looms.
``When Cady closed it put 270 people out of work. We are very proud that we were able to bring back any of those who decided that they wanted to come back. Presently there are over 200 employees that we hired back at their prior wages, benefits and seniority. We are very proud of that fact,'' Murphy said.