Boaters World to be auctioned next weekPosted on
Ritz Camera Centers, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, is selling the business and/or assets of its Boaters World Marine Centers to maintain Ritzs long-term viability and successful reorganization, according to court documents.
In papers filed last month, Ritz said an auction is planned for 10 a.m. next Tuesday, with a hearing to approve the sale set for March 19.
A person answering the phone this morning at the companys Beltsville, Md., headquarters had no comment.
Ritz Camera Centers, which operates 130 Boaters World Marine Centers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Feb. 22 with U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware.
The debtor has also determined, in its business judgment, that the net proceeds of the sale of the Boaters World assets will be maximized by soliciting bids for a stalking horse purchaser and then conducting an auction to sell the Boaters World assets to the bidder making the highest or best bid, the company said in court filings.
A hearing to approve the bidding process is set for this afternoon. The deadline to submit bids is noon Monday.
Ritz said it anticipates some bids will include proposals for store closing sales for the assets located in Boaters World locations, and proposes that any sales in connection with any bid would begin as early as the first day following the approval of such a transaction.
In a related court filing dated March 9, Panama City Peripheral, which leases property to Boaters World in Florida, listed several objections to Ritzs actions concerning Boaters World.
It says Ritz Cameras proposal does not afford the landlord any of the protections they are entitled to under [the] Bankruptcy Code, according to Panama City Peripheral.
Further, Panama objects to the motion to the extent that the proposed sale and bid procedures do not allow landlords to bid on their individual leases, court documents state. Panama submits each landlord should be afforded the opportunity to credit-bid their respective leases.
Panama also objects to the motion because it allows for a dark, or closed, store once the debtors agent completes the GOB sale. Furthermore, a dark storefront in a shopping center may imply financial distress at the center and may damage the overall image of the center.
The more than 90-year-old Ritz Camera added the Boaters World chain in the late 1980s and said it proved to be a positive contributor to the companys profitability for a number of years and generated a positive cash flow through 2007.
In the spring of 2008, however, the price of oil skyrocketed, leading to a sharp rise in the price of gas, and that, in turn with other macroeconomic factors, led to a sharp drop in the sales and profitability of the Boaters World business, chief restructuring officer and COO Marc Weinsweig said in court filings.
Weinsweig also cited a loss of revenues and profit margins from the diminution of the photo-finishing business as a cause for companys financial problems.