MIAMI, OKLA. (May 23, 3 p.m. ET) — While plastic fuel can maker Blitz USA Inc. reorganizes under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, it has sold one of its businesses.
Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. of Emporia, Kan., acquired the assets of F3 Brands LLC, a major manufacturer of oil drains, drain pans, lifting aids and automotive ramps. Many of the products are made of injection molded, blow molded or structural foam molded plastic, according to Mike Williams, Hopkins vice president of marketing.
Combining F3's products with Hopkins task-specific funnel product line creates a more complete range of products for do-it-yourself customers, Hopkins President and CEO Bradley Kraft said in a news release.
Hopkins bought F3 on April 3. Although it did not announce the price paid, Blitz USA said in court documents that the sale netted Blitz $14.6 million, which was applied against secured debt. Earlier, on Feb. 28, Blitz had held an auction at its Miami, Okla., plant to sell off surplus equipment.
Blitz voluntarily sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Nov. 9, 2011.
In addition to F3's oil change products, Hopkins also got the 2x4 Basics line of storage, organization and lawn and garden kits.
Hopkins said it will maintain the F3 manufacturing facility in Miami, Okla., which is separate from Blitz's main plant in the city. Hopkins will fold the F3 oil change products into its FloTool line and the automotive ramps will continue under the RhinoRamp trade name.
The F3 deal is the second fluid management acquisition by Hopkins in the past six months. In October it bought Mr. Funnel, a range of portable fuel filters that remove water, dirt and debris from all types of fuels.
Blitz set up F3 as a separate subsidiary on Oct. 1 2011, including the company's auto accessories, storage and organization and lawn and garden products.
Hopkins bought F3 in an auction sale. In mid-March, debtors had chosen Fort Worth, Texas, investment firm Scepter Holdings Inc. as a stalking horse bidder.
F3 had liabilities of about $37.9 million and assets of $41.4 million, according to court documents. F3's sales in 2012 to April 30 were $2.6 million. In that period Blitz had sales of $30.3 million. As of April 30, Blitz's assets were $54.1 million and liabilities, $66.4 million.
Blitz, as the former U.S. Metal Container, supplied metal gas cans to the U.S. military during World War II. In 1987 it promoted the use of plastic gas cans. Over the next 20 years it diversified into other fuel and auto markets, eventually bringing them together under F3 Brands, while Blitz focused on its core gas can business.
In recent years Blitz has faced a flurry of lawsuits alleging its gas cans were at fault for fires and explosions. When it filed for bankruptcy, Blitz said it had already spent $30 million defending product liability suits and it also owed $3.5 million in lawyer's fees.
In addition to Blitz, plaintiffs' attorneys have also targeted one of the major retailers of the fuel tanks, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Prior to sale of assets, Blitz owed $41 million on a secured term loan with the Bank of Oklahoma and another $22 million on unsecured notes, according to Bloomberg report in January. Blitz is majority owned by Kinderhook Capital Fund II LP.