Location: RINGGOLD, GA
Sales: $210 million
Description: Key Personnel
Woody McGee, president and CEO; Lee McCarter, executive vice president and CFO; William Stanley Brant, Jr., executive vice president of operations
Ringgold, GA, Hazlehurst, GA, Seneca SC
ISO 9002 Certified ISO 14001 Certified
Geotex, Petromat, Proguard, Petrotac, Duon, Synfab, Actionbac, Polybac, Earthscape, Matrix, RFX, Xtinguish
Major Nonwovens Markets
Geosynthetics, flooring, furniture and bedding, automotive, agriculture, laminates, vinyl substrates, sorbents
Escalating fuel, energy and raw material prices have led to a rocky road for what was once the world’s largest needlepuncher, Propex Inc. The company started the year off by filing for bankruptcy and has followed up by attaining financing to operate its business and selling off one of its manufacturing plants. Propex is a combination of the former BP Amoco Fiber and Fabrics operations and SI Corporation, formerly Synthetic Industries.
“During the past year, our entire industry has been hit hard by the general economic decline led by the deteriorating housing market plus the escalating cost of raw materials,” said former company president Joe Dane, who retired this spring after more than 20 years of service to Propex and Synthetic Industries.
In January a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee approved a $60 million credit facility on an interim basis with immediate access to $20 million for Propex. The move provided the company with immediate and sufficient liquidity to operate its business on an ongoing basis. By February, Propex had received court approval for access to the additional $40 million of its $60 million in financing. With this cash infusion, the company has focused on servicing its customers and improving operations. Upon completion, the Chapter 11 restructuring is expected to reduce debt and create additional cash flow that otherwise would be earmarked for debt service. According to Propex, its bankruptcy filing has not impacted its Latin American and European operations.
By March Propex was being run by a new president and CEO, Woody McGee, whose first assignment has been to help the company emerge from Chapter 11. Mr. McGee joins Propex from Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., a leading private investment firm. With extensive experience in executive management and the restructuring of companies in a variety of industries domestically and internationally, his most recent assignment was aiding Global Home Products, a $550 million consumer products manufacturer and importer, to successfully emerge from Chapter 11.
Divestment has also been part of Propex’s plan. This summer the company sold its Yonah plant for $3.1 million to Lumite Inc., a geotextiles specialist headquartered in Gainesville, GA and a subsidiary of Greece-based Thrace Plastics Group. Thrace also owns U.K. needlepuncher Don & Low and has operations in Scotland and Greece and Thrace-Linq, based in South Carolina.