Cranford, New Jersey, USA, 10 May 2010 -- /PRNewswire/ -- The Newark Group, Inc., an integrated global producer of 100% recycled paperboard and paperboard products, today announced that it has reached an agreement with its primary creditor constituencies to significantly reduce debt and restructure the company's balance sheet and has begun a solicitation of votes for its prepackaged Chapter 11 plan of reorganization (the prepackaged plan). A majority of the members of each impaired creditor class has already committed to vote in favor of the prepackaged plan.
The company announced that it reached an agreement with a group of note holders representing more than three quarters of its outstanding 9.75% unsecured senior subordinated notes that would eliminate approximately USD 200 million of the company's unsecured debt upon the effective date of the prepackaged plan. This debt reduction would reduce annual cash interest costs by approximately USD 13 million and provide the company with the financial flexibility to focus on growth and profitability. In exchange for canceling the notes, the holders of the notes will receive 96.5% of the equity of the company upon the effective date of the prepackaged plan. Agreement was reached with the company's lead revolving loan lender to continue to provide financing to the company under a new USD 50 million debtor in possession revolving loan facility and a USD 70 million exit revolver. The company has also arranged for a new, larger USD 110 million term loan facility with a group led by ORIX Finance. This will be used to pay off the existing term loan, and pay down the existing revolver balance.
"We are pleased to have the support of our note holders and lenders as we move forward to strengthen our balance sheet and position the company for profitability," said Robert Mullen, president and chief executive officer of The Newark Group. "As we navigate this process, we will continue to focus on customers, servicing them better than anyone else and developing product solutions to address their most difficult issues," he said.
Votes on the prepackaged plan must be received by Kurtzman Carson Consultants, LLC, the company's voting agent, by 01 June 2010, unless the deadline is extended. The record date for voting was set for 04 May 2010. Solicitation materials have been mailed to all parties entitled to vote on the prepackaged plan. Upon receipt of sufficient votes from those entitled to vote, the company intends to commence a Chapter 11 proceeding and schedule a hearing to confirm the prepackaged plan to take place within 45 days thereafter. None of the company's non-U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates will be included in the filing.
Throughout the solicitation process, trade creditors, suppliers, and employees will continue to receive amounts owed to them in the ordinary course of business. In addition, the prepackaged plan provides, among other things, that subject to approval of the Bankruptcy Court, the claims of trade creditors, suppliers, and employees will be paid in full in the ordinary course of business. During the Chapter 11 case, the company will continue normal operations under current management and does not anticipate any changes to its overall business or its ability to produce quality products.
With headquarters in Cranford, New Jersey, The Newark Group, Inc. manufactures and sells recycled paperboard and paperboard products. The company operates in three segments: Paperboard, Converted Products, and International. For more information, visit www.NewarkGroup.com.