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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Specialty fresh produce distributor Sun World Internatioal Inc. has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, Riverside Division.
As part of the filing, Sun World will obtain a seasonal financing package that provides for working capital through the 2003-04 growing seasons. The funding will allow the company to access to up to $40 million in "debtor in possession" (DIP) financing.
"The filing was necessary to protect our employees, customers, growers and licensees, and also to allow Sun World to meet its seasonal working capital requirements," said Tim Shaheen, Sun World's CEO. "This is a healthy company with a strong core business that performed particularly well in 2002. However, the demands of seasonal agriculture and the capital structure of the company required us to find new financing through bankruptcy protection."
The filing along with the cash infusion will allow Sun World to capitalize on the strong demand for its expanding line of proprietary branded fresh produce. Sun World is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cadiz Inc.
"The filing should have little if any impact on the company's employees or our business relationships. Customers, including many supermarket chains around the nation as well as our international clients, can be assured of an uninterrupted supply of high quality fresh produce," Shaheen said.
Current management will remain in place.
In recent years, the Company has had success developing, growing and promoting proprietary fruits such as its popular MIDNIGHT BEAUTY brand grape, BLACK DIAMOND brand plum, and HONEYCOT brand apricot. In addition to its own California production, Sun World licenses others to grow and distribute its fruit varieties in Europe, South Africa, South America and Australia.