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Four Winds Enterprises Files Bankruptcy Petition

November 05, 1987|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Four Winds Enterprises, which late last week was acquired by a Portland, Ore.-based management consulting firm, on Tuesday placed its domestic moving businesses under the protection of Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy proceedings.

In the voluntary filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Diego, Four Winds' domestic subsidiaries listed $23 million in assets and $97 million in liabilities. However, the company's main international freight-forwarding business, which generated the bulk of Four Winds' $80 million in 1986 revenue, was not included in the bankruptcy proceedings, according to an attorney who is representing the San Diego-based company.

The filing was "a necessary move on our part to continue the reorganization process" at Four Winds, according to Jerome Rose, president of privately held Coast Financial Group, who last week became chairman of Four Winds. Rose expects the filing "will enable us to arrange for new financing so that we can continue restructuring" Four Winds' international freight-forwarding business.

In an interesting twist, NFC International Holdings, the company that in June walked away from a previous agreement to acquire Four Winds, accounts for a hefty portion of Four Winds' liabilities.

Of Four Winds' $97 million in listed liabilities, $70 million are connected to NFC, the U.S. subsidiary of an English freight-forwarding company. However, that $70-million total includes one $14-million claim that was listed five times because each of Four Winds' five subsidiaries guaranteed payment of the debt, according to Donald R. Joseph, a San Diego lawyer who represents Four Winds in the bankruptcy proceedings.

"Simply adding the numbers up gives an unrealistic picture of $97 million in liabilities," Joseph said Wednesday. "Technically, $97 million is correct, but I'd say a better figure would be $27 million."

Joseph acknowledged that "the new owners, when they acquired the company, were exploring many options, one of which was Chapter 11 proceedings." However, Coast did not decide to file in bankruptcy court until after the deal was completed, and NFC began pressing the company to make good on Four Winds' outstanding debts, Joseph said.

When Coast acquired Four Winds last week, Rose said he would continue trimming back Four Winds' money-losing domestic operations.

"The international businesses are really under a separate tier (at Four Winds),' Joseph said. "The foreign operations are not in Chapter 11" at the present time.

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