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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's official: Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. has emerged from bankruptcy. The company and its domestic subsidiaries concluded their Chapter 11 reorganization yesterday after meeting all closing conditions to the plan.
In conjunction with its emergence from Chapter 11, Winn-Dixie closed on its new $725 million exit financing facility provided by a consortium led by Wachovia Bank. This financing will be available to support the company as it seeks to make significant investments in its current store base, to develop new stores, and to take other actions to position the business to compete effectively in its markets over the next several years.
Winn-Dixie said it expects to emerge with only a minimal amount of long-term debt on its balance sheet.
"This is a historic day for the outstanding associates of Winn-Dixie, who have demonstrated tremendous dedication and focus over the past two years as we have sought to become a better company," said Winn-Dixie's c.e.o. and chairman of the board, Peter Lynch, in a statement. "While there is much work still to do, it is a day to reflect on the great progress that has been achieved in improving the quality and value of the products and service we provide our customers."
Lynch listed Winn-Dixie's achievements from the past two years. He noted that the company has reduced its store footprint to focus on the markets where it's best positioned for success; strengthened its balance sheet through significant reduction in debt and asset sales; obtained $725 million in new financing; and enhanced its operating cash flows through a combination of increased sales and expense reductions.
Winn-Dixie's pre-plan common stock was cancelled as of yesterday. Holders of the old common stock will not receive a distribution of any kind and no further transfers will be recorded on the company's books, the company said.
In accordance with the plan, the company will issue new shares of Winn-Dixie common stock in payment of bankruptcy claims. These new shares will be issued within the next 45 days. The new shares have been approved for quotation on the NASDAQ National Market System. Beginning today, the new shares will trade on a "when-issued" basis under the symbol WINNV. Once the company issues the new shares (within 45 days), they will trade under the symbol WINN.
Winn-Dixie will issue the new shares to the company's unsecured creditors holding allowed claims and to a reserve for disputed claims (or, to the extent not used for that purpose, for distribution to unsecured creditors at a later date). The company estimates that following the distribution of the new shares, there will be approximately 54.5 million shares of the new common stock outstanding (inclusive of the reserve, but exclusive of approximately 5.5 million additional shares reserved for issuance under a management incentive plan).
Winn-Dixie currently operates 522 stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.