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 to Hopkins Manufacturing Corp.
Hopkins 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.
Hopkins bought F3 at auction April 3. In mid-March, debtors had chosen Fort Worth, Texas, investment firm Scepter Holdings Inc. as a stalking horse bidder.
In addition to F3's oil change products, Hopkins also got the 2x4 Basics line of storage, organization and lawn and garden kits. Although Blitz did not announce the price paid, it said in court documents that the sale netted $14.6 million, which was applied against secured debt. Blitz also had held an auction Feb. 28 to sell off surplus equipment at its plant in Miami, Okla.
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.
Emporia, Kan.-based Hopkins said it will maintain the F3 manufacturing facility in Miami, which is separate from Blitz's main plant in that city. Hopkins will fold the F3 oil change products into its FloTool line while 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 voluntarily sought bankruptcy protection Nov. 9 in Delaware, after setting up F3 as a separate subsidiary in October.
In recent years Blitz has faced a flurry of lawsuits alleging its gas cans were at fault for fires and explosions. Plaintiffs' lawyers have also targeted one of the major retailers of the fuel tanks, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
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.
From January through April, Blitz had sales of $30.3 million. As of April 30, Blitz's assets were $54.1 million and its liabilities, $66.4 million.
Prior to the 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.
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.
Combining F3's products with Hopkins' funnel goods creates a complete range of do-it-yourself products, Hopkins President and CEO Bradley Kraft said in a news release.