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Masonite emerges from bankruptcy reorganization

Masonite International Corp. is opening the door to a new, financially healthy start.

The long-struggling Canadian doormaker, which runs its international headquarters out of Tampa, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

The trip through bankruptcy court, which lasted only 85 days, leaves Masonite with a much cleaner balance sheet. The company slashed its debt from $2.2 billion in March to $11.3 million of term debt and less than $2 million of other debt at foreign subsidiaries. It plans to immediately pay off the $11.3 million, leaving it with cash on hand of more than $140 million. Moreover, Masonite said, it expects to close soon on a revolving credit line of up to $150 million.

Masonite CEO Fred Lynch said not only did Masonite beat its goal of reorganizing within 120 days, but it emerges as a much stronger company "better positioned for the future."

At respective court hearings to confirm the reorganization plan, both Judge Peter J. Walsh of the United States Bankruptcy Court and Justice Colin L. Campbell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice praised Masonite and its lenders for their cooperation.

"In terms of deleveraging the balance sheet and in terms of the absence of any serious disputes and in terms of the vote, I haven't seen one like this in 10 years," Judge Walsh said of the restructuring.

KKR bought Masonite for $1.9 billion in 2004, before the home furnishing and home repair industries were crippled by the real estate downturn. The company has shrunk from a high of 15,000 employees worldwide in 2006 to less than 10,000. It has fewer than 100 employees in Tampa.

Jeff Harrington may be reached at jharrington@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8242.

Masonite emerges from bankruptcy reorganization 06/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 4:29pm]
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