Home Products International Chapter 11 Proposals, Plans for Liquidation

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“The debtors use resin to make plastic storage products and steel to make ironing boards. Resin and steel prices have been extremely volatile over the past two years, with resin prices doubling and steel prices tripling,” Chief Financial Officer James Auker said in a filing. “The debtors have had only moderate success in passing these price increases on to their customer base.”

He added the company has been unable to convince its lenders to cover its operating losses and has been unable to find a buyer for its plastics or ironing boards businesses.

“At this point in time, nothing seems to change in the course of the Plastics and Ironing Boards businesses. Neither resin nor steel prices are expected to weaken sufficiently in the near future. The supply chain crisis is not expected to change anytime soon,” he wrote.

The voluntary petition says at least $50 million is owed to 200-999 creditors. The privately held company injects housewares for storage, home organization, and laundry care, such as totes, carts, and bins, for clients including Walmart, Target, and Amazon.

Founded in 1952, HPI ranks 52nd among North American injection molders with estimated sales of $180 million Plastic News‘ latest ranking.

HPI had announced in March that it would close its metal ironing board operations in Seymour, Indiana, to focus on its plastics business.

Then, two months later, HPI officials told the US Department of Labor that starting May 20, it would lay off 146 workers at two Chicago facilities. The layoffs included 96 workers at one plant and 50 workers at the company’s headquarters.

According to the bankruptcy filing, HPI has estimated assets at $10 million to $50 million and liabilities at $50 million to $100 million.

A creditors’ meeting is scheduled for July 12.

Several plastics companies are among HPI’s top 30 unsecured creditors, owed a total of $19 million. Major creditors are materials manufacturer Braskem America Inc., which is owed $2.99 ​​million; Material Difference Technologies, based in Sarasota, Fla., $2.86 million; and Pinnacle Polymers, based in Garyville, Indiana, for $1.87 million.

HPI is also $505,180 in arrears to Chicago Mold Engineering; $181,727 to Ube Machinery Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a manufacturer of injection molding machines; $114,282 to Talco Plastics Inc. and $110,127 to TNT Plastic Molding, both of Corona, California; and $70,673 to Colors for Plastics Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Auker said the unsecured creditors are unlikely to be paid.

The company has found a buyer for its Seymour facility for $3 million and has signed an agreement to auction the machinery and equipment at both the Chicago and Seymour facilities for no less than $3.8 million.

HPI previously filed for bankruptcy. The company also turned to the courts for bankruptcy protection in 2006 when it expected to lose more than $30 million on approximately $224 million in revenue. At that time, as part of its restructuring plan, the company closed its foundry site in El Paso, Texas and consolidated its operations in Chicago.

Catherine Kavanaugh and Don Loepp write for Crain’s sister publication Plastic News.

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