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Hunter, Luhrs parent files for bankruptcy

Morgan Industries Corp., the parent company of Hunter Marine and the Luhrs Marine Group, filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 30 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of New Jersey.

In its filing, Morgan says it has between $10 million and $50 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities. Listed in the filing were Hunter Composite Technologies Corp., Hunter Marine Corp., Luhrs Corp., Mainship Corp., Ovation Yachts Corp., Salisbury 10 Acres LLC, Salisbury 20 Acres LLC and Silverton Marine Corp.

The filing by the parent company indicates there are between 50 and 99 creditors. Morgan lists the largest creditors holding unsecured claims as Textron, which has a claim of more than $1 million, and several law firms and other entities.

The Morgan affiliates, including Luhrs, Hunter Marine, Mainship and Silverton, also filed individual petitions in which each listed its own creditor, asset and liability estimates.

“The business reorganization is intended to bolster liquidity, fairly resolve legacy liabilities and enable the company to focus on its most valuable business lines and assets,” according to a statement released by its advisers. “In conjunction with the filing, the company filed first-day motions that will allow it to continue to manage operations in the ordinary course. The company has obtained a fully committed, post-petition debtor-in-possession credit facility from Bank of America to enhance liquidity and working capital.

“The company will evaluate options ranging from a standalone plan of reorganization or a capital infusion through a plan of reorganization or funding sponsor or acquirer,” the statement said.

The company is being advised by Robert Hirsh and George Angelich of Arent Fox LLP as bankruptcy general counsel; Capstone Advisory Group LLC as financial advisers; Katz, Kane & Co. as investment bankers; and Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. as claims agent.

John Peterson, Hunter Marine president and chief restructuring officer, told Soundings Trade Only that the powerboat operations — Silverton, Luhrs and Mainship — ceased operations in January. Florida-based sailboat builder Hunter Marine continues to operate, he says.

As for Hunter, Peterson says orders are “fairly strong right now. I think things are going fairly well [for Hunter]. We could certainly pay for ourselves on an ongoing basis, but we could not pay for the whole group on an ongoing basis.”

There are “numerous” entities interested in buying Hunter and other assets, Peterson says. “Our backlog of orders is more than reasonable and remarkably higher than the last two years,” he says. “Our Hunter dealers can count on us to continue to aggressively market our boats worldwide, as well as continue our R&D projects uninterrupted.

“Hunter’s boats, customers and dealers will be supported as in the past,” Peterson adds. “Our dealers, our dedicated employees, our products make up the Hunter brand, and this action will allow us to continue.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue.

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