Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Closed business may be sold

Mutual owner Flow Corp. in bankruptcy

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A hearing on the proposed sale of a Camp Washington industrial supply house that shut suddenly Thursday has been rescheduled for today in a Grand Rapids, Mich., bankruptcy court.

The hearing on the proposed sale and related auction procedures for Mutual Manufacturing & Supply was slated for Monday but postponed until today, according to a spokesman for assistant U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Daniel J. Casamatta.

Representatives of Mutual, at 3300 Spring Grove Avenue, and its parent Grand Rapids-based US Flow Corp., didn't return calls for comment Monday.

According to bankruptcy court records, US Flow, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Aug. 12, has a tentative agreement to sell Mutual Manufacturing and operations in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Virginia to MMS Acquisition Group, a new company consisting of Mutual's former owner and a former officer.

Mutual, which employed 150 according to the latest Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce guide, distributes pipe, valves and fittings to a variety of industrial users.

Mutual was acquired by US Flow in 1999 along with three other regional pipe and valve distributors.

According to the bankruptcy filings, MCC, consisting of Mutual's former owners John Robinson and Drew Barton and his son, Michael, agreed to purchase the business for about $15.9 million.

The Bartons and Robinson couldn't be reached for comment.

Because of interest from other potential buyers, including McJunkin Corp., a Charleston, W.Va. competitor, the court is slated to act on bankruptcy auction procedures including a proposed breakup fee not to exceed $250,000 to MCC in the event Mutual is sold to another buyer.

The bankruptcy court is also slated to consider an agreement to sell another part of US Flow, Plotkin Brothers Supply Inc. in Pittsburgh, to its prior owners.

US Flow, which listed peak revenues of $340 million, saw revenues slip to $265 million in the 12 months prior to its bankruptcy filing, according to court records.

The company listed assets of $69 million and debts of $123 million. It employed 760 at 50 locations in 17 states.


Email mboyer@enquirer.com

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