Trade Only Today’s most-read stories of 2009

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Genmar Holdings’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing dominates Trade Only Today’s top 10 stories of 2009, accounting for seven of the most-read articles in the daily e-newsletter.

Genmar files for bankruptcy protection,” which was posted June 2 – one day after the filing – was the top story of the year and remains Trade Only’s top story since we started tracking such statistics.

“If someone would have said to me as recently as even one month ago that Genmar would someday be filing for Chapter 11, I would have said it was not even a remote possibility,” Genmar chairman and CEO Irwin Jacobs said that morning.

“I’ve always looked for ways to enhance Genmar’s balance sheet and felt that even though business conditions were incredibly difficult, there were alternatives available,” he added. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the necessary time to complete any of the alternative financing acceptable to the banks.”

Genmar moves from reorganization to sale,” which was posted Oct. 30, comes in second on our list. Until this time, Genmar had been looking to reorganize, but court documents showed a sale of its assets was imminent, and Jacobs confirmed he would bid for the company.

“Unfortunately, I can’t give you the information for that right now because it’s not public, but I plan on being a bidder for the assets and continue the business as it is,” Jacobs told Soundings Trade Only that morning.

“I tried to do the reorganization and couldn’t get the cooperation of everybody necessary with which to do it,” Jacobs said. “I was going down that path and, frankly, had what I thought was, in place, a transaction to do it. But there were people who weren’t cooperating with it, so I had to go in a different direction.”

The article that publicly named the “stalking horse” bidder in the Genmar case was the third-most-read story of the year.

Genmar working with stalking horse bidder” was posted Nov. 30 and detailed plans by Project Boat Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Platinum Equity, to purchase the Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns, Glastron and Larson boat lines. The assets also include facilities in Flippin, Ark., Cadillac, Mich., and Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The purchase price is $55 million, according to court documents. An auction is set for Jan. 7.

More details on Genmar’s Chapter 11 filing” comes in fourth on our list. Posted June 2, that story provided more information on the Minnesota company’s bankruptcy filing.

On Nov. 10, Trade Only Today reported that Jacobs was stepping down as head of Genmar to pursue a sale of the company and avoid a conflict of interest.

In the article, “Jacobs resigns as head of Genmar,” Jacobs said, “I’m keeping all of my options open; everyone will just have to wait and see what the outcome is. I’ve stepped aside – I resigned from the board – so that I’m free to do whatever I want to do. Otherwise, it would obviously be a conflict.”

This article – fifth on our list – drew 40 comments, the most to date for any single Genmar-related story.

The rest of the top 10 include:

6. “AUDIO EXCLUSIVE: Jacobs talks about Genmar bankruptcy,” posted June 3.

7. “Fountain files Chapter 11,” posted Aug. 24.

8. “Industry reacts to Genmar bankruptcy,” posted June 3.

9. “Hard times continue for manufacturers,” posted March 4.

10. “Three manufacturers announce cutbacks,” posted Feb. 26.

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