Allens Debts Higher Than Expected

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:00 am  

Allens Inc.’s debts are now itemized and total $289.9 million. That’s about $10 million more than was estimated when the Siloam Springs company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of October.

The 87-year-old family-owned vegetable processor and food-service provider listed assets totaling $294.5 million in a bankruptcy court filing late last month.

A deal is still moving forward to sell “substantially all the operating assets” to Seneca Foods Corp. of Marion, N.Y., for $148 million. The agreement calls for Seneca to serve as the “stalking-horse” bidder in an auction, meaning Seneca has the opportunity to match any other bids Allens might receive.

The bankruptcy court still would have to approve any sale, which is expected to happen by the end of this month.

If the sale price comes in around $150 million, that wouldn’t be good news for the unsecured creditors. Their debts total $108.7 million. The total amount of money owed to creditors holding secured claims is $178.1 million. Another $1.2 million is owed to creditors holding unsecured priority claims.

Allens’ revenue has been falling during the past three years. For its fiscal year that ended Feb. 28, 2013, its revenue was $420.3 million, which was down 33 percent from the previous year. The company did sell most of its frozen foods division in 2012, however. For the fiscal year that ended in February 2011, revenue was $682.5 million. For the first eight months of the current fiscal year (March 1 to Oct. 31), revenue was $227.7 million.

In its bankruptcy court filing, Allens also notes that the majority owner of the company is its chairman of the board, Roderick “Rick” Allen, who controls 61.39 percent of the company. The remainder is split equally between his sons, Joshua C. Allen, the CEO, and Nicholas E. Allen, executive vice president.

Rick Allen’s grandfather, Earl Allen, founded the company in 1926.

Tucked in the filing is a section showing that Allens donated more than $400,000 worth of food to a variety of charities last year, including the Arkansas Rice Depot in Little Rock.

The filing demonstrates that Allens’ road to bankruptcy wasn’t cheap. In the year before it filed for bankruptcy protection, Allens paid $7.6 million to Alvarez & Marsal, a global professional services firm specializing in turnaround and interim management. It also paid $1.4 million to the New York office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Allens has about 1,175 employees, with 448 in Arkansas, and has been among Arkansas’ largest private companies ranked by revenue. Allens’ brands include Popeye Spinach, Princella, Freshlike and Royal Prince.



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