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DALLAS -- Fleming Cos. has delayed supplies to customers, and more delays could be forthcoming as suppliers postpone shipments following the grocery distributor's bankruptcy filing last week, according to the company's interim c.e.o. Pete Willmott.
Assuring its retail customers in a letter that the distributor has more than $100 million in cash receipts to pay its suppliers, delays in working out a financing agreement prompted Willmott to caution them that "there might be a short delay in completely filling all of your orders as we refill our pipeline."
Fleming filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection less last week, two months after losing a $4.5 billion contract to supply food to discount retailer Kmart Corp., which is also operating under bankruptcy protection.
Although Willmott's memo said the delays haven's significantly affected meat or produce shipments, a number of produce suppliers have objected to Fleming's motions to use its cash as collateral for credit or for general business. "Over this past weekend, we placed the orders and the goods are beginning to flow," Willmott said. "These products will be shipped to you on your regular schedule as they arrive."
Fleming, which is being traded on the Pink Sheets, closed at 18 cents on Monday vs. its $2.62 valuation in February.