Northern Beef Packers, L.P. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection in South Dakota

Northern Beef Packers, L.P., which touts its Aberdeen, South Dakota facility as “the country’s most cutting-edge beef processing plant” on its website, voluntarily filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Dakota on Friday.  The company reported assets of between $50-100 million and debts of between $10-50 million owing to between 200 and 999 creditors in its voluntary petition (a copy of which is embedded below).

Northern Beef Packers is represented in the bankruptcy case by the law firms of Cozen O’Connor and Bantz, Gosch & Cremer, L.L.C., as well as financial advisor Lincoln Partners Advisors LLC.

In January of this year, Northern Beef Packers announced that it had completed its “final round of financing” and that the company had then raised over $150 million.  From the press release announcing the fundraising:

Northern Beef Packers, L.P., a beef processor located in Aberdeen, SD is announcing that it has successfully completed its final round of financing. The company finalized the loan agreements today with its lending partners, bringing the total financing raised to over $150 million.

The final round of financing will allow Northern Beef Packers to meet the growing global demand for high-quality, American raised beef. The processing plant is the most technologically advanced plant in the world, with industry leading food safety standards and humane handling practices in place. The company reports that interest in the high-quality beef products produced at the plant has been exceptional from many industry sectors both domestically and abroad. The company is also beginning to learn feedback from how their product is being received in the marketplace, and results have been overwhelmingly positive thus far.

During the initial start-up phase, Northern Beef Packers has been working closely with Hartley Ranch Angus Beef, a distributor of high-quality Angus beef, to market the majority of its production to date. Hartley Ranch Angus Beef has committed to being a long-term customer of the company. A number of customers have joined Hartley Ranch Angus Beef in recent weeks, and the company will continue to grow its customer base as additional product volume becomes available.

Production at the plant continues to increase according to management’s plans. Officials at the plant report that they are taking careful consideration in employee training, ensuring a healthy and safe working environment. The company has hired over 350 employees to date, and will continue to grow its skilled workforce to over 500 employees in the weeks ahead as production continues to increase. At full capacity, the processing plant is capable of harvesting 1500 head of cattle per shift, resulting in more than one million pounds of boxed beef and offal products produced every day at the facility.

A copy of the company’s list of its largest general unsecured creditors is embedded below.  Eight creditors are listed with claims of $500,000 or more, including the United States Treasury with a $903,027.67 claim for unpaid payroll taxes.  In addition, a notice of appearance has been filed by the South Dakota law firm of Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. on behalf of White Oak Global Advisors, LLC.  White Oak Global Advisors’ website lists a September 2012 senior secured term loan in the amount of $28 million made to a “beef packing plant” as part of its portfolio.

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The following copies of court filings, as well as some videos from YouTube, provide additional information about the company and the chapter 11 filing.