Daily News: December 5, 2013

Chicago/Midwest TMA Announces Award Winners

The Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association’s annual awards were announced and presented at the annual Executive Speaker Forum held November 18 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. More than 600 business leaders attended the event, which featured Timothy Geithner, former Secretary of the Treasury (2009-2013) as the keynote speaker, with David Snyder, publisher of Crain’s Chicago Business leading a discussion and Q&A about the events surrounding the recession and the U.S. government’s reaction to the economic contraction.

The awards program recognizes organizations and individual members for outstanding achievements in the corporate renewal profession.

“Every year, the TMA Chicago/Midwest Chapter recognizes and honors those corporate renewal professionals in our chapter who are making a difference in the turnaround industry, either through their work on behalf of clients or their dedication and service to the TMA,” stated Kevin A. Krakora, president of TMA Chicago/Midwest Chapter. “On behalf of our Awards Committee, I congratulate the winners of our 2013 awards for their achievements and contributions.”

Winners in the following categories were selected:

Large Turnaround of the Year: Regions Business Capital (Regions) and Wynnchurch Capital (Wynnchurch) for their work on US Pipe. Based in Birmingham, AL, United States Pipe and Foundry Company is a leading North American manufacturer of iron pipe products, fittings, joint restraints and other parts. Under the leadership of Regions and Wynnchurch, US Pipe implemented a strategic plan to right-size the business; reduce costs and preserve market share and an increased focus on on-time delivery and product quality. The company paid down all of its senior debt within eight months and returned 60% of the initial equity investment in December 2012, with a second dividend anticipated at a two times cash return on the initial investment occurring in 2013.

Small Company Turnaround of the Year: Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP and Rally Capital, for their work on AeroCare. After filing for bankruptcy, AeroCare, which provides US and international medical flight transportation and time-critical organ procurement services, retained Rally Capital Services as financial advisor and Neal Gerber & Eisenberg as restructuring counsel. Ultimately, AeroCare improved profitability and emerged from bankruptcy without needing DIP financing. The company has an improved balance sheet and operations and more than 100 jobs were saved.

Large Transaction of the Year: Fort Dearborn Partners, for their work on the Dearborn Wholesale Grocers transaction. Dearborn Wholesale Grocers operated a grocery distribution division; a convenience store division and a retail division. After the company lost its largest and most profitable customer, Fort Dearborn implemented expense reductions and then assessed the viability of a sale by segmenting the business units and the distribution business was sold in two transactions. Jobs were saved; the retail business continued to operate; and real estate and other equipment were sold. As a result of these multiple transactions, the working capital lender and trade creditors were paid in full, and the owners realized a significant portion of their investment.

2013 Small Transaction of the Year: High Ridge Partners for its work on ABC-Electrical Contractors. Established in Des Moines, IA in 1959, ABC-Electrical Contractors is a second generation privately-owned specialty contractor, providing design and build; electrical construction; data communications and 24-hour emergency service with a reputation for innovative services and quality. As its financial and operational problems accrued, ABC hired High Ridge Partners which, rather than liquidating the assets, identified a pathway for preserving the going concern value of the business. High Ridge worked with the company to negotiate and close a sale to a new ownership group consisting of long-term employees. The net proceeds from the transaction allowed ABC to pay its creditors in full, with excess funds distributed to the company’s owner. As a result of High Ridge’s efforts, 70 union and non-union jobs were preserved, and the new owners carried on ABC’s legacy of innovation and quality.

2013 Pro Bono Turnaround of the Year Award: Paul J. Niedermayer, Jonathan Consulting LLC, for providing free restructuring services to qualified organizations for Otto Jacobs Company, a third generation, family-owned and operated business supplying ready mixed concrete. Niedermayer worked with the company to update its bookkeeping and reporting systems, and helped the company recast its cash flow projections. He also advised the company in connection with the sale of excess real estate and the application of sale proceeds and helped set the foundation for the preservation of this family owned business for another generation.

2013 Certified Turnaround Professional of the Year Award: Ray Anderson, CTP, Huron Consulting Group for his work on the turnaround of Bancroft Bag, which operates the largest diversified multiwall bag plant in the U.S., employing 400 people in Monroe, LA, where it has been in business for almost 90 years. Anderson and the Huron team improved the company’s liquidity, renewed management’s commitment to quality, increased productivity, increased EBITDA, improved employee morale and preserved almost 400 jobs.

Most Active New Member: Kathleen Parker of HYPERAMS. Parker has had a tremendous impact on a variety of committees, all supporting the growth and outreach of the TMA.

Outstanding Service, Ryan Jaskiewicz of 12five Capital for his outstanding individual service to the chapter in the past year. A member since 2007, Jaskiewicz has been a vocal advocate for upgrading the chapter’s technology and use of social media to add value to existing members and to reach out to prospective members.