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Neenah Enterprises Gains Financing, Eyes Ch.11 Exit

July 9, 2010
Interim management to head reorganized group
Neenah Enterprises Inc. reports that it has secured financing commitments from investors that will enable the Wisconsin-based producer of ferrous castings and steel forgings to exit bankruptcy. A bankruptcy court hearing reviews NEI’s reorganization plan on July 6, and the company said it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 in mid July. NEI and 17 affiliated subsidiaries filed a Chapter 11 claim on February 3, seeking to restructure debts totaling $449.1 million (versus assets of $286.6 million.) The group states that once its reorganization is in effect it will have reduced its total debt by more than $270 million. The reorganized NEI will have new executive management team. Robert E. Ostendorf, Jr., the president and CEO, recently announced he will resign those positions but will remain available to the company during the transition to a new management team. Dale E. Parker, NEI’s chief financial officer, intends to resign once the company exits bankruptcy. Richard D. Caruso, a managing director for Huron Consulting Services LLC, will be the group’s acting chief executive officer and Brent E. Johnson of Huron will serve as acting chief financial officer. Chicago-based Huron Consulting Services is a management consultant that “helps clients … improve performance, comply with complex regulations, resolve disputes, recover from distress, leverage technology, and stimulate growth.” Caruso has been Neenah’s chief restructuring advisor since the bankruptcy filing. Reportedly, he has over 25 years of experience in metals, manufacturing, and construction industries. William Barrett, who was the CEO of Neenah from 2000 through 2007 will serve as special advisor to the board and chief executive officer. An executive recruiting firm has been retained to assist NEI to locate permanent successors to Caruso and Johnson. Neenah Enterprises Inc. is a holding company for several gray and ductile iron foundry operations, including Neenah Foundry Co., in Neenah, WI; Advanced Cast Products in Mercer, PA; Dalton Foundry in Fort Wayne, IN; and Deeter Foundry in Lincoln, NE. Its products serve municipal and various industrial markets. The group also includes Mercer Forge, in Mercer, PA, which produces carbon and alloy steel forgings from 3 to 100 lb.