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Delaware Bankruptcy Litigation Information on Corporate Bankruptcy Proceedings in Delaware and Throughout the United States

Hines Nurseries, One of the Largest Plant Growers in the U.S., Files for Bankruptcy in Delaware

Posted in Bankruptcy Case Summaries

On October 12, 2010, Consolidated Horticulture Group, LLC and Hines Nursery LLC (the "Debtors"), filed petitions for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  According to the Declaration filed by Debtors’ President and CEO, Stephen Thigpen (the "Declaration"),  Debtors are one of the largest commercial nurseries in North America, selling shrubs and container-grown plants to commercial and retail customers.  Decl. at *2.  The company’s customers include independent, local nurseries, as well as retail chains such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Lowes.  Id.  A copy of the Debtors’ Declaration is available here for review.

As of the petition date, Debtors employed 825 full-time and 75 part-time employees.  Debtors grow 5,100 varieties of shrubs and plant, operating out of eight nurseries in Arizona, California, Oregon and Texas.   Most of the company’s products are grown under the Hines Nurseries trade name.  Decl. at *4.  As is common in the nursery industry,  Debtors’ sales are highly seasonal.  Sales for the company are strongest during the second quarter when Spring gardening is underway.    In 2009, 55% of the company’s sales occurred during the second quarter.  Decl. at *12.

In 2009, Debtors’ achieved net sales of $123.5 million.  During the same year, the company reported assets worth $173.8 million (book value) against liabilities of $64.4 million.  The company has pre-petition debt totaling $70.4 million.  According to the Debtors, the company’s pre-petition secured debt totals $70.4 million.  Decl. at *4.  Per the schedules attached to the Debtors’ bankruptcy petition, the largest unsecured creditor is a rent claim totaling $342,272.

This bankruptcy proceeding is before the Honorable Christopher S. Sontchi of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  Debtors are represented by Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, LLP.   For those readers who are unfamiliar with the chapter 11 process, below are some of my prior posts that cover common topics in bankruptcy: 

Ten Things Every Commercial Landlord Should Know About a Tenant in Bankruptcy;

What to Expect in a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors;

A Closer Look at Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Auctions; and,

Subject Matter Jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court.

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Jason Cornell is a bankruptcy attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP.  Jason practices in Fox Rothschild’s Wilmington, Delaware office.  You can reach Jason at 302 427 5512, or jcornell@foxrothschild.com.