Dallas: Major Food Distributor Files Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan

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Dallas: Bankrupt Major Food Distributor Files Reorganization Plan

The Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) - Bankrupt restaurant supplier AmeriServe Food Distribution Inc., which has agreed to be purchased by a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. subsidiary, has filed a reorganization plan with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del.

Closely held AmeriServe provides food and other supplies to several large restaurant chains, including Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's.

Ron Rittenmeyer, brought in as AmeriServe's president and chief executive officer after the company filed for bankruptcy, said Friday that the reorganization plan was "a major step forward."

AmeriServe, based in the Dallas suburb of Addison, had received $150 million in temporary financing from two of its major customers, Burger King and Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., which owns Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell.

On Thursday, Tricon said it expected that its total future net exposure in connection with the AmeriServe bankruptcy will be in the range of $80 million to $100 million.

Last month, AmeriServe announced it had agreed to be purchased by McLane Co., a unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. McLane supplies about one-third of the nation's convenience stores. Terms were not disclosed.

AmeriServe was created in the 1980s as a collection of regional food distribution companies, and it grew rapidly in 1997 and 1998 by acquiring PepsiCo's PFS distribution business and ProSource for $1.15 billion.

Although revenues rose, the company lost $147 million in 1998 and it struggled to keep up with debt. Rittenmeyer has said revenues this year will be about $4 billion, down from the 1998 peak of about $7 billion.

AmeriServe is controlled by Holberg Industries, which is two-thirds owned by Norwegian-born banker and investor John Holten, who is still chairman.


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