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E-Malt.com News article: USA: Pittsburgh Brewing has 3 weeks to get deal done
Brewery news

Pittsburgh Brewing Co.'s prospective buyer is close to reaching agreements with the bankrupt brewery's creditors but needs three more weeks to get it done, the investor's attorney told a federal judge Tuesday, February 6th, according to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Pittsburgh Brewing Acquisition LLC hopes to reach agreements with the Lawrenceville brewery's creditors in the next few weeks, but "there's no certainty yet" the deal will be finalized, attorney Joel Walker said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh. "If it is going to work, there is a good chance to wrap it up in three weeks. There's no guarantee," Walker said.

Three weeks is the amount of time that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough extended Pittsburgh Brewing's exclusive rights to file a financial reorganization plan that will allow it to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Pittsburgh Brewing requested the extension until Feb. 27 to give it more time to settle with the creditors, said Robert O. Lampl, the brewery's attorney.

The brewery asked for and received a three-week extension, until April 27, to get creditors to approve the reorganization plan.

"Either it is going to get done or not get done in three weeks," said Michael Healey, an attorney representing the 160 union workers at the historical brewery. Last month, the unions approved a labor agreement with Pittsburgh Brewing Acquisition that would cut their wages and benefits.

Neither Lampl nor Walker identified which creditors, or groups of creditors, have not reached agreements with the prospective buyers on how much money they would accept in return for settling their debt. Those details would be explained in a reorganization plan.

The investment group is led by John N. Milne, a private equity fund manager from Westport, Conn., who has said he expects his group will invest more than $7 million in the brewery. Some of that money will be used to modernize the brewery that makes Iron City, IC Light and Augustiner brands.

The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau agreed to postpone its demands that the brewery obtain a bond to cover excise taxes on the beer it produces and ships.

McCullough gave the agency's claim for bond payment a "superpriority" over all of the other claims against the brewery.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Skirtich said the agency would wait the three weeks for a reorganization plan, but then the brewery must comply with requirements for a bond that would cover $150,000 in taxes. The agency seized more than $600,000 from two brewery bonds to cover past taxes, and has about $14,000 toward the $150,000 bond, Skirtich said. The prospective buyer is prepared to obtain a bond if it buys the business, Walker said.

07 February, 2007

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