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JACKSONVILLE, FL, November 9, 2006 - Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. said yesterday it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 30 days, thanks to the news that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida confirmed its plan of reorganization.
Following a confirmation hearing held on Oct. 13, Judge Jerry A. Funk issued a ruling yesterday affirming that the company had met all of the necessary statutory requirements to confirm its plan. The confirmation hearing followed a creditor vote in which all impaired classes of unsecured creditors voted in favor of the plan.
Winn-Dixie said its plan will become effective -- and the company will emerge from bankruptcy -- once all closing conditions have been met.
As previously announced, Winn-Dixie has a commitment for $725 million in exit financing from a consortium led by Wachovia Bank. The company said it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 protection with sufficient financing and liquidity 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. The company also expects to emerge with only a minimal amount of long-term debt on its balance sheet.
"We are very pleased that the court has confirmed our plan of reorganization and that Winn-Dixie's emergence from Chapter 11 is now just around the corner," said Winn-Dixie president and c.e.o. Peter Lynch in a statement. "This is an exciting time for everyone at the company. We will continue to work hard to build on the turnaround we have started and to accelerate our momentum."
Lynch also thanked Winn-Dixie's associates for their hard work and dedication throughout the Chapter 11 process. "Their energy and enthusiasm is both inspiring and contagious. We appreciate the strong support of our plan of reorganization by virtually all of the various creditor groups in our Chapter 11 proceedings. We are also extremely appreciative of our customers and our partners in the vendor and real estate communities for their trust in us and their continued loyalty to Winn-Dixie," he said.
Winn-Dixie currently operates 522 stores in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.