CREDITORS GET ATLANTA MART IN PORTMAN RESTRUCTURING
Byline: Georgia Lee
ATLANTA — The Portman Cos. has completed the final phase of a corporate restructuring that turns over majority ownership of its trade mart complex to creditors.
The transaction is the culmination of a major restructuring of company debts that has been going on for more than a year. The new deal divides the Portman operations, valued at $3.7 billion, into two companies: AMC Inc. and Portman Holdings.
A consortium of 31 domestic and foreign financial institutions unanimously approved the debt-for-equity exchange transaction, which gives the group 82.5 percent ownership of AMC Inc., with Portman entities and partnerships retaining 17.5 percent.
AMC Inc. will own and operate the Atlanta Market Center, Atlanta Market Center Management Co. and AMC Trade Shows. The Atlanta Market Center is a 6.2 million-square-foot complex, which includes the Atlanta Gift Mart, Merchandise Mart and the Atlanta Apparel Mart. AMC Inc. trade shows include the California Gift Show and the twice-annual Surf Expo, held in Orlando, Fla. Estimated 1995 revenue is $100 million.
The Fashion Center in San Francisco, another apparel mart developed by Portman, was taken over by the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh in a foreclosure action this summer.
Portman Holdings will operate various architectural and development projects worldwide including Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, Shanghai Center in China and the Marriott Marquis in New York and Atlanta.
John C. Portman Jr., 70, will continue to run the trade mart and trade show operations as chairman and chief executive officer of AMC. He is also managing general partner of Portman Holdings, which is owned solely by Portman family members and affiliates. John (Jack) M. Ryan, currently president of AMC, assumes the presidency of AMC Inc.
Portman said in a statement he is optimistic that AMC will go public within a few years.
This is the second restructuring of Portman Cos., which ran into financial trouble in 1990, when debts exceeded $2 billion. The first restructuring plan, begun in 1991, forced Portman to relinquish partial ownership of several projects, including office towers in Atlanta and other international operations.
A representative of AMC said any changes as a result of the restructuring will be “imperceptible to buyers” at AMC markets. However, Ryan has said in other statements that the consolidation of the gift, apparel and merchandise marts would offer cross-marketing opportunities between gift, apparel and home furnishings.
Such efforts include the first combined gift and home furnishings market, to be held Jan. 10-23.