COURT OK 'S BIDERMANN CASH TO RELEASE GOODS

Byline: Rich Wilner

NEW YORK--Needing cash to pay for millions of dollars of fall Ralph Lauren Womenswear goods and Arrow men's sports shirts sitting at various ports, Bidermann Industries USA won bankruptcy court approval Wednesday to use cash on hand to release the goods for immediate shipment to stores.
Thomas E. Ireland, managing director of Alvarez & Marsal, the turnaround specialists providing financial consulting to Bidermann, said that the company risked missing a fall selling season and having stores refuse the shipments if Bidermann didn't get financing to pay for the goods and have them shipped at once. Bidermann filed Chapter 11 Monday.
Bankruptcy Judge Tina Brozman granted the approval to use the cash as the firm ran into opposition to its request to use $20 million of its $75 million debtor-in-possession financing to fund operations for the next two weeks.
The opposition came from the DIP lending group, seeking to define its level of protection in case of default. The issue was unresolved at press time.
In arguing for use of the DIP package, Ireland also said that Bidermann's Great American Knitting Mills unit, maker of Gold Toe socks, was down to two days' supply of raw materials.
The $20 million from the DIP package would be used with $15 million in cash on hand. Of the DIP funds requested, $8 million would be used for trade letters of credit over the next two weeks.
Throwing out some deficit forecasts, Ireland said that Bidermann would lose $16.7 million this week and $13.6 million next week. He also noted that Bidermann's Arrow factory outlet stores will operate at a loss of $1.5 million over the next 11 weeks.
The $75 million DIP facility is scheduled to run for two years at a rate of 2 percent over the Fed Fund Rate. --Fairchild News Service

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