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While product offerings at HMX Group look better than when it was Hartmarx Corp., it’s too bad the same can’t be said about its financial structure.
This story first appeared in the August 2, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to financial sources, HMX Group is hoping to close on a new financing facility with Salus Capital. Once done, the deal would be the firm’s first new credit facility since being acquired out of the Hartmarx bankruptcy by Indian firm S. Kumars Nationwide Ltd., or SKNL, in August 2009. London-based Emerisque Brands holds a minority stake in HMX Group. Financing at the time was through an exit facility via a consortium led by Wachovia that is typical of firms coming out of bankruptcy proceedings. Wachovia has since been acquired by Wells Fargo.
Officials at Salus Capital declined comment Wednesday.
Financial and industry sources said the new senior facility, of which the amount could not be determined at press time, has already been approved. Closing of the facility could occur at any time.
There’s just one glitch: The new facility requires a capital infusion from SKNL — which hasn’t happened — and that’s what has been holding up the closing of the new loan, according to sources.
Nitin Kasliwal, SKNL’s vice chairman and largest shareholder, declined to comment.
Had the financing come through, the loan could have closed back in June, sources said. They said the current facility is close to expiring, possibly as early as this week, and the consortium led by Wells Fargo isn’t willing to provide interim financing to allow SKNL more time to get the funding through to HMX. That means the consortium is likely to push for a sale of the company.
HMX has been plagued by rumblings since the spring, when creditors said some bills had not been paid.
At the time, Doug Williams, HMX’s chief executive officer, acknowledged that there were liquidity issues, and sometimes vendors didn’t get paid for 30 to 60 days.
On Wednesday, amid reports in the New York Post that HMX might need to be put up for sale, Williams said, “We continue with the same plans as we have always done. The company is not for sale. It never was put up for sale. Our focus is on completing the refinancing.”
He added that the company is “managing our payables every single day.”
William Blair & Company is the firm advising HMX on its refinancing. It supposedly has been approached by some strategic firms keeping tabs on HMX. A source familiar with the identity of those firms declined to say which ones were eyeing HMX. This individual did say that neither PVH Corp. nor The Warnaco Group Inc. have made any inquiries. Both firms often come up as potential acquirers, as they’ve said publicly that they are actively on the prowl for acquisitions.
During the Hartmarx bankruptcy process, a key issue was the factories the firm operates in Chicago and Rochester, N.Y.
That was a key point of contention during the Hartmarx bankruptcy. Lenders during the bankruptcy were pushing for a liquidation, but it was believed that most of the interested bidders in Hartmarx would selectively buy assets and shutter domestic operations. Lawmakers and union officials turned on the pressure and that gave Emerisque more time to pull a deal together.
Three years later, the “Made in the USA” tag is gaining more momentum. Firms interested in the old Hartmarx operation in 2009 — such as Spencer Hays’ Individualized Apparel Group and Perry Ellis International Inc., as well as Peerless Clothing International Inc. — could be potential buyers, sources speculated.
SKNL, a textiles firm, had hoped to have an initial public offering for its Reid & Taylor (India) Ltd. subsidiary last year. Those plans, originally made in 2010, have been delayed due to market conditions in India. The Mumbai-based firm was believed to have been the leading bidder to acquire discount fashion chain Peacocks out of administration in the U.K., but that acquisition was completed by Scottish firm Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group Ltd.