NEW YORK — Galey & Lord is on firmer financial footing following court approval of a takeover bid by Patriarch Partners LLC of New York worth up to $154 million.
“This has been such a long journey through this whole process and we finally have an investor that is in this with us for the long haul,” said John Heldrich, president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based textile mill. “We’re going from a period of how to survive to how to thrive, and we can now look ahead finally.”
The deal includes $40 million in cash, the assumption of $80 million in revolving debt and up to $34 million in other liabilities to be determined by the Georgia bankruptcy court.
Galey & Lord Inc. is set to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings on Nov. 8, when the acquisition is scheduled to close. In August, the firm filed a Chapter 11 petition to pave the way for the deal.
After several years of cutbacks and plant closings, the firm filed for bankruptcy in February 2002, during a wave of filings that also swept Burlington Industries, Malden Mills and Guilford Mills into the protective arms of the court. Galey emerged from bankruptcy in March and reentered court protection to smooth the way for Patriarch’s purchase.
Lynn Tilton, principal of Patriarch, said Galey “has an exceptional management team, an outstanding customer base and a long track record of delivering quality and innovative products.”
Heldrich sketched out a new corporate structure for the firm. Galey had been primarily organized into two units — Swift Denim and Galey & Lord— which produced khaki and corduroy fabrics. The divisions were a legacy of the firm’s February 1998 acquisition of Swift.
Following the sale, Heldrich said, the firm will have four divisions, divided by customer type rather than product type. The new units are sportswear, jeans, uniforms and specialty markets, which includes all nonapparel sales. Each unit will be headed by a managing director, who will report to Heldrich and will be able to sell all the types of fabric Galey produces.
The managing directors will be: Bob McCormack over sportswear; Jake Fraser over jeans; Paul Tantillo over uniforms and Rick Waide over specialty markets. All four are Galey veterans and will be based in Atlanta.The breakdown, Heldrich said, is “according to market and customer segment. We think each can be a profit center.”
Heldrich also named Al Blalock as senior vice president of operations and Tim Driver as senior vice president of international business relations. Previously, Blalock oversaw Galey’s manufacturing operations and Driver was in charge of Swift’s.
With its new owners, the company will look more closely into the possibility of expanding its manufacturing presence abroad, Heldrich said.
“Lower-cost regions are a serious consideration for our future,” he said.
Heldrich added that “there is a tremendous emphasis on reducing costs” under the new ownership. The firm currently employs 3,300 people. Heldrich said some positions will be eliminated and others added in the coming months, though he declined to discuss specifics.
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