EXQUISITE FORM MOVES TO SELL LABEL, GAIN TIME

Byline: Karyn Monget

NEW YORK — To get more time to assess its finances, Exquisite Form Industries last week filed a copy of a proposed agreement to sell its Exquisite Form label to Exquisite Acquisition Inc. in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Bernadino, Calif.
The action — according to Lawrence Zakson, an attorney representing UNITE, the apparel and textile workers union and a major creditor — was in response to a March 18 deadline to answer an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed against Exquisite Form. The petition was filed Nov. 7 by UNITE, other creditors and former employees.
Zakson said the proposed sale agreement, which must be approved by the bankruptcy court, “caused an automatic extension for Exquisite Form.”
Zakson said the proposed purchase agreement did not identify Exquisite Acquisition Inc., but noted, “I can only assume it’s a subsidiary of Bestform.”
As reported, Marvin Bienenfeld, chairman of Bestform, a 71-year-old maker of bras and shapewear in Long Island City, N.Y., had confirmed reports in early March that his company was in talks with Exquisite Form to buy the label.
He could not be reached for comment last week.
There will be no more extensions after April 21, said Zakson, contacted at his Los Angeles office.
Zakson, who oversees Exquisite Form’s pension fund, said it is still unclear what the financial situation is at Exquisite Form, a 40-year-old maker of specialty bras and shapewear and a U.S. subsidiary of Manila-based Royal Undergarments Corp. of the Philippines Inc.
Exquisite Form’s annual wholesale volume in 1995 was around $30 million, according to several former executives.
Zakson noted that delinquent contributions and other obligations, as listed in the petition, included: $157,555 in delinquent contributions to the union employees’ insurance fund; $39,238 to the supplemental health plan; $105,037 to the retirement fund, and a claim of $113,580 by UNITE for violation of The Warren Act.
Exquisite Form shut down its distribution facilities in Ontario, Calif., in November, without giving employees 60-day notice.
The debts listed in the petition, said Zakson, do not include back pay, severance and 401K plans, and money owed to nonunion employees.

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