[Commentary] © 2000 Philip Hyde, The Timesizing Wire™, Box 622 Cambridge MA 02143 USA (617) 623-8080

Bankruptcies Jan-Jun/2000

6/24/2000  1 bankruptcy mention -

  1. Bankruptcy protection sought, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, C1.
    Maurice The Pants Man may be folding [up all his pants]. Maurice Corp., a private New England retail clothing chain...losing sales to bigger rivals such as The Gap..\..filed for Bankruptcy Court protection from its creditors.... Maurice, based in Portsmouth, NH, and trading as The Pants Man, traces its history to an Army-Navy store in Worcester in the 1920s. The company plans to liquidate most of its merchandise and close almost all of its 50 stores. Maurice officials are negotiating to sell some stores....
6/22/2000  2 bankruptcy mentions -
  1. [Specific, in world's largest economy -]
    Genesis Health [Ventures] seeks bankruptcy protection, AP via Boston Globe, C5.
    ...Pa.-based...5th-largest provider of elder care services in the nation and the largest...in Massachusetts filed petitions with the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., to reorganize under Chapter 11 protection..\..saying it needed time to restructure debts the company blamed on cuts in federal reimbursements for skilled nursing care and associated services....

  2. [General, in 2nd-largest economy -]
    Japanese personal bankruptcies, AP via NYT, C4.
    ...rose to an all-time high in fiscal 1999 as the nation's economic slump led to near-record unemployment, the Kyodo news agency said yesterday. Bankruptcies increased by about 19,000, or 18.3%, in the year that ended March 31, rising to 122,741.
6/22/2000  3 bankruptcies mentioned -
  1. Japanese bankruptcy, AP via NYT, C4.
    The Tokyo District Court declared a real estate developer bankrupt in Japan's 3rd-largest business failure of the year...behind the Life Co., a consumer credit concern, and the real estate leasing firm, the Nihon Building Project Co..\.. The EIE International Corp. failed with an estimated...$4.52B in liabilities [after borrowing] heavily during Japan's speculative land boom of the late 1980's. When land prices collapsed in the early 1990's, EIE...was saddled with more debt than it could repay.

  2. Transcoastal Marine Services Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Houston, which installs and repairs pipelines and provides repair and construction services to offshore oil rigs, said it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.
    [How could a company in the oil biz go broke???]

  3. Former managers purchase assets of First Union REIT, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    [Ah, "former managers"? Isn't this a little conflict of interest here? Run it into the ground, then buy it in a fire sale? REIT stands for "real estate investment trust" - some "trust"!]
    First Union Real Estate Equity and Mortgage Investments said it would sell the bulk of its assets to its former management team [dba Radiant Partners] for $205m in cash and assumed debt, moving closer to a full liquidation....
    [Yeah, we just bet they're "radiant."]
6/13/2000  2 bankruptcies mentioned -
  1. [1 new bankruptcy -]
    Chapter 11 filing by Safety-Kleen, Reuters via NYT, C12.
    A troubled waste services company...and 73 of its United States subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.... Its senior secured lenders...hold more than $1.6B in claims against the company. The company's operations in Canada and Mexico were not part of the filings.... The company said that its employees and customers would be largely unaffected by the process.

  2. [1 old bankruptcy -]
    Time Warner Telecom cancels purchase of GST [Telecommunications], Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...[citing inability to] reach favorable terms on a final agreement with GST and its creditors. GST said it would ask a federal court in Delaware to let it sell most of its assets at auction. GST filed for bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Del., on May 17, citing high debt and insufficient cash flow. GST, based in Vancouver, Wash., provides voice, Internet and data services in Western states.
    [Scratch up another one for the Great Internet Shakeout, and scan down to 5/18/2000 below for the original story.]
6/10/2000  1 new bankruptcy reported -
  1. SafeLite Glass Corp., NYT, B3.
    ...Columbus, Ohio, an automative glass replacement and repair company, filed a petition for protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code in Wilmington, Del.
6/09/2000  2 bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Assisted living facility to close - Fiscal woes beset Back Bay home for the well-heeled [in Boston], by Richard Kindleberger, Boston Globe, C3.
    Burrage House in the Back Bay charges $2600-5800 a month to house and help its frail elderly residents.... The 30-bed assisted-living facility for well-heeled senior citizens will close its doors in 90 days. Benchmark Assisted Living, brought in to run the facility after a new owner took over in August - following the previous owner's bankruptcy - said it would work through the summer to find places for its 14 permanent residents. Three others were temporary....
    The elegant five-story building opened in 1992 as Boston's first assisted-living facility [serving] those who are too frail to live on their own but who don't need a nursing home. ...The original owner, Boston Back Bay Board and Care, borrowed a large amount for ambitious renovations. Then it found itself unable to attract enough residents at high enough rents to pay the debt and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998.... The current owner, LB Burrage House LLC, is an affiliate of the lender, Lehman ALI Inc., which took control of the facility as a result of the bankruptcy proceedings.

  2. Bankruptcy law and violence, editorial, NYT, A30.
    Congressional leaders are busily trying to cobble together a compromise that combines differing bankruptcy law[s] passed by the House and Senate. Regrettably...the compromise will preserve some of the worst elements of the original versions - giving unsophisticated lower- and middle-income debtors less protection than they need and wealthier debtors more protection than they deserve.
    Now, to make matters worse...the Republicans may succeed in eliminating one of the positive aspects of the Senate bill. This is an amendment added by an 80-to-17 margin in the Senate that would prevent those who engage in intimidation and violence at abortion clinics from hiding behind the Bankruptcy Code to escape court-imposed financial penalties for their crimes.
    [Since jumping in bed with the "Christian Coalition" and the "Religious Right" in 1980, the Republican Party has become ever shorter-term in its thinking and an ever stronger force for the demise of America - not that the Democrats have done much better. Truly "the way to hell is paved with good intentions." By repeatedly favoring the rich, the GOP is damaging the nation's consumer base and making it ever harder for businessmen to find sustainable markets. Why? Because "the more concentration of money, the less circulation of money." We're getting the Black Hole effect - concentration so astronomical and tight that little or nothing is leaving the central "event horizon." We're taxing circulation (e.g., sales taxes and VAT taxes) instead of concentration (e.g., graduated income taxes and inheritance taxes). That way lies a lop-sided and top-heavy economy which sooner or later, as in 1929, flops over - unmasking general and spreading poverty.]
    Senator Charles Schumer of New York offered the amendment to strengthen the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances [FACE] Act. It is intended to close an increasingly popular loophole by making it plain that violators cannot escape legal judgments by concealing their assets and filing for bankrputcy, much as defendants have done in several recent cases. Unless it is quickly closed, Mr. Schumer warns, the loophole will inevitably undermine the effectiveness of a federal law [FACE Act] that has proved useful in deterring and punishing clinic violence.
    [So our well-meaning legislators with their "law and order" posturing have given us a world-record prison population @$25-30K/yr per inmate, and are now protecting violence and promoting further deterioration in the quality of our reproduction. Brilliant.]
6/03/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 5/31/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 5/29/2000  3 just-mentioned bankruptcy equivalents - 5/27/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 5/25/2000  2 bankruptcy-equivalents - 5/24/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 5/23/2000  1 bankruptcy-equivalent mentioned - 5/19/2000  1 bankruptcy-equivalent mentioned - 5/18/2000  yet 2 more bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Time Warner unit buys GST Telecommunications assets, Dow Jones via NYT, C4.
    ...Vancouver, Wash.[-based provider of] phone and Internet transmission services in the western U.S..\..said yesterday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and had agreed to sell its assets to Time Warner Telecom Inc. for $450m.... In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Delaware, the company said it had cash flow problems, heavy debt and insufficient financing. Chapter 11...will allow the company to operate while it negotiates a settlement with its lenders....

  2. U.S. vulture investor expected to lead Japan bank takeover, by Stephanie Strom, NYT, C2.
    TOKYO...- Japan is expected to announce as early as Thursday [ie: today?!] that W. L. Ross & Co., an investment concern run by the bankruptcy specialist Wilbur L. Ross, has been chosen to take over Kofuku Bank, a regional bank in Osaka that failed in May 1999.... The sale indicates that contrary to recent speculation, the government has not closed the door to potential acquisition of banks by foreigners....
    [On the other hand, they're probably just throwing us a bone to keep us quiet. And what better bone than a bank-rupt called Ko-fuk-u.]
5/17/2000  2 more bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Schlumberger buys the assets of CellNet Data Systems [for $117m in cash and $118 in debt assumption], Bloomberg via NYT, C3.
    ...Schlumberger already uses CellNet, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February [see story below on 2/2/2k], as a contractor \for\ meter-reading....

  2. McDonald's Corp., NYT, C3.
    ...Oak Brook, Ill., the biggest restaurant chain in the world, received approval from a bankruptcy court to buy the Boston Market business, which sells rotisserie chicken, from Boston Chicken Inc., Golden, Colo., for $176.2m.
    [Too bad. Boston Chicken had big Mac a little nervous there for a few years. Once again, it's a case of market success in delivering mediocrity - like the victory of MS-DOS over CP/M and Windows over Macintosh, or the triumph of Stevenson's cart-track 4-ft 8½-in railroad gauge over Brunel's 7-ft gauge the century before.]
5/16/2000  2 bankruptcy mention -
  1. [The cascade begins? -]
    Craftshop.com plans to file for bankruptcy - Move marks 1st failure by CMGI-backed retailer, by Stephanie Stoughton, Boston Globe, F1.
    ...an online arts and crafts retailer...after floundering in a competitive environment.... [Norwalk, Conn.-based] Craftshop.com also would be one of the first electronic retailers to file for bankruptcy since investors began to tighten their purse strings and abandon Internet stocks.... Over the last several months, troubled Internet retailers like Peapod Inc. and Value America Inc. have been rescued by big investors. Other ailing dot-coms have tried to drum up investor interest by announcing new strategies of [businesses] selling to businesses ["b2b"], rather than consumers ["b2c"]....
    [We always wondered how there could be so much money around in 1929-30, but all of it locked up in banks or mattresses and not at work paying employees and maintaining their purchasing patterns and the nation's consumer base and economists' all-important "effective demand." Downsizing is Part A of the answer. This story demonstrates Part B - investors "get smart," pull back, and thereby trigger the collapse of their own stock values. The "march of folly" continues (apologies to Barbara Tuchman).]

  2. The Unification Church's news affiliate buys UPI, by Christopher Marquis, NYT, A19.
    ...Troubled by dwindling profits in recent years, UPI twice declared bankruptcy and endured a nearly continuous stream of layoffs and asset sales. The agency changed hands three times in a decade, passing from the Mexican publisher Mario Vasquez-Rana to California venture capitalist Earl Brian and then, in 1992, to its most recent owner, a company controlled by the brother-in-law of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia....
5/09/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 5/03/2000  a record FIVE (5) bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Roberds, a furniture [and appliance] retailer, will close all its stores, AP via NYT, C4.
    ...which employ 1,300 workers. Roberds, which has operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since January, said yesterday that it closed its 15 stores and 2 distribution centers in Ohio, Georgia and Indiana to conduct an inventory to prepare for liquidation. It said it expected to have a going-out-of-business sale within 3 months. Roberds, which was founded in 1971, listed assets of $142.5m and debts of $117.8m in its bankruptcy filing....

  2. Metropolitan Mortgage, Dow Jones via NYT, C13.
    MIAMI - ...A subsidiary of the insurance company Transamerica said [yester]day that it would cease operations and sell its loan portfolio. All 194 employees of Metropolitan, which sells mortgages in the Southeast, will lose their jobs.... The company said it would immediately stop originating loans and shut down completely in 6 months. Transamerica was acquired last year by the Dutch insurer Aegon.
    [Here, a lethal takeover-liquidation connection.]

  3. Tower Air halts its passenger service, AP via NYT, C4.
    ...The no-frills airline that filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year [though] still operating charters and military flights..\..has halted passenger service, leaving ticket holders scrambling to find space on other carriers.... Tower Air Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in February in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The same month, the airline, based at Kennedy Airport, said it intended to cut 300 jobs, or 19% of its work force, and reduce the size of its fleet. Tower was known for low fares...and spotty service. Delays were routine, and Tower's fleet of aging Boeing 747's required frequent maintenance.

  4. NutraMax [Products and its units] seeks Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, Dow Jone via Boston Globe, D9.
    ...in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.... The [Gloucester, Mass.-based] consumer health care products company said it arranged a prenegotiated agreement with its existing bank lenders, subordinated lender, and principal equity holders.... NutraMax has reached agreements to restructure its debt to about $30m from about $80m, subject to court approval.

  5. Groups protest legislation to overhaul rules of bankruptcy, AP via Boston Globe, D4.
    Consumers advocates, unions, women's groups, and religious leaders are protesting legislation that would make it tougher for people to erase debts through bankruptcy. Officials of the groups and some Democratic lawmakers yesterday assailed the millions in campaign contributions by banks and credit card companies pushing the bipartisan legislation.
    Prospects for its enactment appear stronger than in previous years. But the recent agitation against the legislation already seems to have had an effect: Republican Senator Charles Grassleyl of Iowa said he would remove a provision from the Senate-passed bill that would let credit card companies take some bankrupt consumers' retirement assets to pay off debts. The bankruptcy overhaul legislation "represents all the ways in which Big Money dominates" Congress, said Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.... A recent report by watchdog group Common Cause found that those businesses gave more than $23.4m in party-building "soft money" and donations to Democratic and Republican candidates over the past 3 years. During that time, the bankruptcy legislation has been before Congress in [various] forms....
    Personal bankruptcies of Americans in recent years...reached a record 1.4m in 1998, despite the strong economy, up more than 300% since 1980 [actually 1988 - see lead-in story at top of page - ed.]. Wellstone appeared with Democratic senators Edward Kennedy of Mass. and Russell Feingold [as in "McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill"] of Wisc....
    [This type of "strong economy" is exactly the same type as we had all through the "Roaring 20s." The relatively few but vocal & supremely confident "have's" kept tightening the screws on the relatively many but voiceless "have-not's." And guess what? The "have's" managed to damage their own consumer base so much that they engineered the Great Depression. It certainly didn't happen overnight on October 29, 1929. That was just when the "have's," some of them anyway, finally felt the disaster that was already all around them, but with their tunnel vision and incessant cheerleading, they never noticed (or if they did, pretended they didn't and hoped it would magically go away).
    [And here we are again, tightening the screws on the relatively many but voiceless "have-not's" and damaging our consumer base: This is a textbook case in the "march of folly" (hats off to Barbara Tuchman for that phrase) - the shortsighted wealthy don't know history, don't learn from history, and repeatedly re-engineer disasters that their parents and grandparents engineered before them. Dumb dumb dumb.]
5/02/2000  2 bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Mexico revamps bankruptcy laws [to ease credit by helping banks], pointer blowout (to C4), NYT, C1.
    The Mexican Congress has passed legislation to replace bankruptcy and loan-guarantee laws dating to the 1940's.
    [Note again the naive and dangerous assumption that laws passed in response to the Great Depression are de facto outdated today. This was the fatuous assumption under which the Glass-Steagall banking act was repealed last fall.]

  2. Japanese insurer fails, AP via NYT, C4.
    Becoming Japan's first nonlife insurer to fail since the end of World War II, the Daiichi Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Co. gave up on its efforts to repay its debts....
4/30/2000  1 general bankruptcies mention - 4/26/2000  1 bankruptcy mention - 4/25/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 4/18/2000  2 bankruptcies mentioned -
  1. Corning Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Corning, NY, which makes glass and fiber optic products, and PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh, which makes glass and coatings [will] take $35m charges to write off their investments in a joint venture, Pittsburgh Corning Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday [4/16].

  2. Clark Material Handling forklifts, NYT, C4.
    ...Lexington, Ky., a maker of forklift trucks, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors, citing high operating costs and problems paying its lenders.
    Forklift LP Corp. f/k/a Clark Material Handling Co., legal notice, 9/26/2003 WSJ, B5.

4/12/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned & 1 general state-level observation -
  1. Hedstrom has filed for bankruptcy, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    The Hedstrom Corp., a unit of the leveraged buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc., filed today for bankruptcy protection after slumping sales and mounting debts left the company, a maker of children's outdoor toys, struggling to survive. Pittsburgh-based Hedstrom listed $399m in assets and $337m is debts.... Seven Hedstrom units also filed for Chapter 11 protection along with the parent, including ERO Inc., a maker of arts and crafts kits that Hedstrom acquired in June 1997.... Hedstrom's most recent acquisition came in Oct/97 when it bought RDM Sports Group Inc's Flexible Flyer toys division as part of Ram's [who's "Ram"?] bankruptcy reorganization. The division sells sleds and other outdoor play devices.
    [And what happens to all the employees in these gobbled-up little toy companies? We're always talking about the merger-layoff connection - here's the merger-bankruptcy connection in spades. Here's our flat statement about mergers and takeovers - you heard it here first -
    Real companies don't merge or get merged.
    Real CEOs don't merge or get merged.
    These merger and takeover artists are nothing but bored playboys. Any similarity between them and real managers is purely coincidental.]

4/08/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 4/06/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 4/05/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/25/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/24/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/22/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/18/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/16/2000  1 bankruptcy mentioned - 3/15/2000  1 general bankruptcy comment - 3/14/2000  3 bankruptcies mentioned -
  1. joan and david [helpern inc.] seeks bankruptcy protection, by Chris Reidy, Boston Globe, D11.
    ...the operator of luxury boutiques with offices in Everett [Mass.] filed for Chapter 11 protection last week...in the Southern District [Court] of New York.... Helpern's statement did not address the issues that forced the company [into bankruptcy]....

  2. and
  3. Shipyard's two firms declare bankruptcy, by Aaron Zitner, Boston Globe, D1.
    The two companies attempting to revive Fore River Shipyard in Quincy [Mass.] sought protection from creditors in US Bankruptcy Court yesterday, but insisted they would ultimately reach their goal of building ships at the historic yard. The shipyard's owner, Massachusetts Heavy Industries Inc., and yard operator MHI Shipbuilding LLC filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in Boston, two weeks after a federal agency demanded $47m in loan payments that the companies could not provide. The government has taken physical possession of the 130-acre shipyard....
    [Gee, 130 acres of ghost shipyard on the Atlantic Ocean near Boston. Sounds like a great place to get together a bunch of kids and explore.]
3/09/2000  2 bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Pic'n Pay Stores Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Matthews, NC, a discount shoe store chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors for the second time in four years.
    [Isn't that within the seven-year limitation - or is it shorter for corporations?]

  2. Bankrupt Hanbo Steel is sold, by Samuel Len, NYT, C8.
    South Korea's ailing Hanabo Steel Industry signed a final contract with a U.S.-based consortium to sell its assets for $480m. The consortium, led by Nabors Capital and Third Avenue Fund, will buy all of Hanbo's operational assets, including real estate and machinery.
    [And what will happen to how many of Hanbo's employees??]
3/04/2k  And yet 1 more bankruptcy mention - 3/3/2k  1 more bankruptcy mention - 3/02/2k  1 bankruptcy mention - 3/01/2k  2 bankruptcy mentions -
  1. Great Train Store Co., NYT, C4.
    ...Dallas, a retailer of train-related toys and hobby items, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Great Train said it expected to close up to 11 of its 56 stores.

  2. Seizure possible in Thai bankruptcy, by Wayne Arnold, NYT, C4.
    A dispute between Thailand's biggest corporate debtor, Thai Petrochemical, and its creditors has raised doubts about repayment of billions of dollars of bad debt in the country despite economic improvements since the Asian financial crisis in 1997. The creditors, including the World Bank's International Finance Corp. and the U.S. Import-Export Bank, have petitioned Thailand's bankruptcy court to declare the company insolvent and allow them to take it over....
2/24/2000 McDermott unit in bankruptcy, AP via NYT, C16.
...Babcock & Wilcox [B&W] an engineering company that is a division of the New Orleans-based McDermott International..\..has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.... B&W used asbestos [now known to be a carcinogen] in power generation projects until the material was phased out in the early 1970's.... B&W has settled more than 340,000 [asbestos-exposure] claims since 1982 at a cost of $1.6 billion but has about 45,000 claims pending.... In recent months, lawyers for plaintiffs had been demanding higher settlements and the bankruptcy filing in federal court in New Orleans was made after B&W was unable to negotiate what [would be] considered reasonable payouts.
[Isn't it just a little bit ridiculous to hold companies responsible for using substances that were not known to be dangerous at the time - if they dropped them as soon as the danger was known?]
Legal notice...- Babcock & Wilcox Chapter 11 reorganization - The last day for creditors to file remaining claims in Jan. 15, 2003, 11/18/2002 WSJ, A20.

2/23/2000 Service Merchandise cutting 4,800 more jobs, AP via NYT, C4.
...The Nashville-based company was forced into Chapter 11 last March by a group of creditors, claiming total debts of $1.29B. The company has so far closed 122 stores and cut 5,000 jobs. \It\ plans to cut 4,800 additional jobs, reduce store sizes and discontinue some product lines as part of its ongoing bankruptcy reorganization plan....

2/22/2000 Mexico's no. 3 airline is declared bankrupt, AP via NYT, C12.
...a decision that had been expected since the government grounded the heaviliy indebted cut-rate airline on Nov. 23 after a crash in western Mexico. The ruling makes it less likely that the airline, Taesa, will ever fly again. The company had provided the only major competition for the jointly owned Mexicana and Aéromexico, which together have established a near monopoly in domestic air travel in Mexico....

[Hmm, bankruptcy mentions have been frequent lately...]
2/18/2k  TEU Holdings files for Chapter 11 protection, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...[The] operator of the This End Up line of mall-based furniture stores, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday after distribution problems led to slumping sales. The retailer, which is based in Richmond, Va., listed $59m in assets and $75m in debts in its [filing] in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. This End Up has been plagued with distribution problems....
[Seems endemic in the furniture business. Here's a market niche for someone who can really deliver the furniture on time.]

2/17 Footstar plans to pick up some assets of Just for Feet, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
...The No. 2 retailer of athletic footwear and apparel said it planned to acquire some assets of its money-losing rival Just for Feet Inc. for about $70m, to expand in the Midwest. FootStar will pay $69.7m in cash for Just for Feet's brand name, 79 superstores, 23 specialty stores, its Internet business and corporate HQ. It will also assume $2.9m in Just for Feet debt.... Just for Feet, which is based in Birmingham, Ala., filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 4.

2/16 A price too high? Deal to save Charter Behavioral may have harmed it - A troubled chain is now poised to file for bankruptcy protection, by Barry Meier, NYT, C1, C13.
[Yes they filed - the very next day. Here's the headline on 2/17 -]
A Chapter 11 filing by Charter Behavioral - The leading psychiatric chain seeks protection from its creditors - A company facing investigations and suits is in free fall, by Barry Meier, NYT, C6.

2/15/2k  Motion is filed opposing Iridium takeover, Bloomberg via NYT, C15.
Bondholders of [bankrupt] Iridium have filed a motion opposing Craig McCaw's plan to take control of the company, which is involved in satellite telephones, and asked a bankruptcy court for permission to sue Motorola Inc. for more than $2B [because it] "has dominated and controlled the debtors and caused great harm to the creditors...." Iridium owes about $1.45B to bondholders.

2/08/2k  Basement gets court OK to shut all Aisle 3 stores, by Chris Reidy, Bos Globe, D10.
The US Bankruptcy Court in Boston has approved a request by Filene's Basement Corp. to close its chain of eight Aisle 3 stores.... Filene's Basement has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since August....

2/04/2k  2 bankruptcy mentions -

  1. Value City subsidiary is acquiring Filene's Basement, AP via NYT, C4.
    The Base Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of Value City Dept. Stores, said yesterday that it would acquire the assets and certain liabilities of the Filene's Basement discount retail chain for an undisclosed sum. In an effort to emerge from bankruptcy, Filene's Basement, based in Wellesley, Mass., announced plans in the fall to close 37 stores and lay off 900 employees....

  2. Service Merchandise Co., NYT, C4.
    ...Brentwood, Tenn., which operates more than 200 jewelry and home products stores in 34 states, has been given 14 more months to file a bankruptcy reorganization plan. The company was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy last March.
2/03  Nursing home bankruptcy, AP via NYT, C13.
SPARKS, Md. - Integrated Health Services Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and arranged for financing to keep its 400 nursing homes and other facilities operating.... IHS operates about 1600 post-acute facilities [altogether]....
[Doesn't IHS signify the first 3 letters of "Jesus" in Greek - iota eta sigma?! Gee, maybe we're having a vision! Quick, e-mail the Vatican!]

2/2/2k  Schlumberger to buy maker of energy data networks, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
Schlumberger Ltd. agreed yesterday to buy the money-losing CellNet Data Systems Inc., whose wireless networks gather information about energy use.... CellNet, based in San Carlos, Calif., said it planned to file for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware on Friday. It expects the bankruptcy court to approve its sale to Schlumberger...the world's second-largest oil field service company..\..by April 30.
[Hey, aren't high tech firms supposed to be doin' great in this "booming economy"?!]

2/01  AmeriServe in Chapter 11, Dow Jones via NYT, C11.
AmeriServe Food Distribution Inc. [a unit of Holberg Industries] filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition [yesterday] in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The company, based in Addison, Tex., operates 39 distribution centers serving the fast-food industry and 12 distributions centers serving casual-dining restaurants....

1/19  4 bankruptcy mentions -

  1. Roberds Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Dayton, Ohio, a home furnishings retailer, said it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and close its eight stores in Tampa, Fla., and its only store in Cincinnati. In addition [it] will sell one of its nine Atlanta stores.

  2. Nursing chain seeks Chapter 11, AP via NYT, C6.
    The nation's second-largest nursing home operator filed [yesterday] for...bankruptcy protection, attributing its misfortunes to federal cuts in Medicare reimbursement. The Atlanta-based company, Mariner Post-Acute Network, runs more than 400 nursing homes nationwide. It said the 1997 Balanced Budget Act had cut its...reimbursement by $115 for each nursing home resident. "The crisis in long-term care continues to grow as dramatic Medicare cuts, explosive litigation costs and staffing shortages threaten the viability of long-term care providers," the company chairman, Francis Cash, said in a statement.
    [Again, complaints of "staffing shortages" when wages are stagnant and training is left to others.]

  3. Bankruptcy filings fell in '99, study notes, Bloomberg via NYT, C6.
    Personal bankruptcy filings fell...by about 112,000 [8%] in 1999 to 1.3m, from a record 1.4m in 1998, according to the economics professor, Lawrence M. Aubusel, who supervised..\..a University of Maryland study that is being hailed by critics of Congressional efforts to toughen bankruptcy laws.... Mr. Aubusel said...lenders saw their losses rise and raised their lending standards.... [So this study attributes the drop to lenders. But the following study attributes it to consumers.]

  4. [And now, giving the opposite reason for the reduction -]
    More consumers show credit restraint - Group sees easing of bankruptcy rates from historic highs, AP via Boston Globe, C2.
    [At any rate, maybe this downward blip will discourage Congress from again toadying to the banks and making bankruptcy harder.]
    WASHINGTON - The Consumer Federation of America said 112,000 fewer people filed for and received bankruptcy court protection last year than in 1998.... More cautious borrowing by consumers is at the heart of the decrease...that has forced credit card companies to restrain their solicitations and lures.... "Consumers have increasingly just said no to credit card solicitations," Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the federation, said at a news conference. While 2.85 of consumers accepted...offers of new credit cards in 1992, that dropped to 1% in the Jan-Sept 1999 period.... And lenders...mailed an estimated 2.4b offers in the first 9 months of last year, compared with 3.5b in 1998....
    [Note the significant assumption that the only factor worth mentioning in consumer bankruptcy is credit card debt.]
    The number of Americans filing personal bankruptcies in 1998, at nearly 1.4m, was up more than 300% from 1980.
    [Whatever. There's always ups and downs in bankruptcies and other statistics in front of a big depression, as you can see from the industrial and commercial bankruptcy figures from 1920 to 1929 (8881, 19652, 23676, 18718, 20615, 21214, 21773, 23146, 23842, 22909) from the graph on our historical data page.]
1/15  Golden Ocean Group Ltd., NYT, B3.
...Guernsey, England, a privately owned crude-oil and dry-bulk shipping company with a fleet of 17 vessels, filed for bankruptcy court protection with $881m in assets and $880m in debts.

1/11  Preparing for Daewoo bankruptcy, by Samuel Len, NYT, C4.
South Korea's Financial Supervisory Commission said it would establish a team to prepare to place the Daewoo Corp. into court receivership if talks with foreign creditors fail.... The Daewoo Corp. is the main affiliate of the Daewoo Group, one of South Korea's largest conglomerates, which has been struggling for months under more than $70 billion in debt.

1/07/Y2K  Bruno's Inc., NYT, C4.
...Birmingham, Ala., which operates supermarkets in the South, said it won a federal judge's confirmation of its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization and expects to emerge from bankruptcy this month.
[Boy, those corporate spindoctors are shifting into overdrive - Bruno's "won" confirmation of its bankruptcy plan, indeed!]

1/05/2000  Harvard Pilgrim in receivership - Care, coverage will continue, by Frank Phillips, Boston Globe, front page.
[Sure SURE we've got a booming economy. Agriculture in trouble. Health care in meltdown.
Notice -

  1. this is the ORIGINAL H.M.O. that started the whole genre, then known as Harvard Community Health Plan.
  2. as Bruce Gellerman, of the WBUR's "Here & Now" said today at noon, "If more of these health plans go belly up (and get taken over by the government receivers), we'll have a single-payer system by default!]

For earlier bankruptcy stories, click on the desired date -

  • Aug-Dec/99.
  • Prior to July 31/99.

    For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, which is available online from *Amazon.com and at bookstores in Harvard and Porter Squares, Cambridge, Mass.

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