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J.L. French Confirmed to Exit Chapter 11

Sept. 10, 2009
Reorganization opens way to new business opportunities
A federal bankruptcy court as confirmed J.L. French Automotive Castings’ plan of reorganization, and the aluminum diecaster now indicates it plans to “pursue new business opportunities that were unavailable to us before.” Sheboygan, WI-based J.L. French filed a pre-negotiated, Chapter 11 bankruptcy case on July 13. The company said it hoped to stabilize its finances by reducing its secured debt from approximately $280 million to approximately $65 million, using debt-for-equity swaps with first- and second-lien term loan lenders. It planned to exchange more than $215 million in first- and second-lien term loan debt for substantially all of its equity. It was the second bankruptcy reorganization in four years for J.L. French. In 2006 the diecaster executed a similar pre-negotiated restructuring, also to reduce debt. By 2007 it was planning a capacity expansion, but early this year it began to scale back operations due to declining automotive demand. "We met our commitment to complete the reorganization in record time and were able to gain confirmation of our plan in 53 days," stated J.L. French chairman, president, and CEO Thomas Musgrave. Musgrave thanked employees, new shareholders, lien holders, customers and suppliers for their support in the reorganization effort. “The support we have received from all of our stakeholders is a testament to J. L. French’s reputation in the automotive industry as a premier aluminum diecaster,” he said. He added that with the reorganization complete, and with a more sound financial position, J.L. French “will also be able to pursue new business opportunities that were unavailable to us before.”