BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A final decision on the disposition of Belle Foods here is scheduled for Friday following a closed auction Tuesday in which Associated Wholesale Grocers was the only bidder.

Kansas City, Kan.-based AWG had filed a "stalking horse bid" Friday as a way to set a minimum level for bidding on the 43 Belle Foods stores However, no other companies submitted bids, J. Jette Campbell, chief restructuring officer for Belle Foods, told SN late Tuesday.

He said it will be up to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge for the Northern District of Alabama to accept or reject AWG's bid at a hearing set for Friday morning.


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Belle Foods, which currently operates as the Southern Family Markets subsidiary of C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H., filed for bankruptcy protection July 1, indicating it owed C&S $38.3 million for goods and financing and an additional $3 million in other claims. Though the initial filing included plans to reorganize the chain, the company subsequently decided to sell all its stores and has been operating as a debtor-in-possession.

Read more: ‘Two Dozen’ Bidders Seen for Belle Stores

The AWG asset purchase agreement proposes a minimum price of $16.1 million, with closing set for Oct. 18. To ensure that offers from other bidders are at a level C&S would find acceptable, the stalking horse bid indicates other bidders must offer at least $700,000 more initially, with subsequent bids rising in increments of at least $100,000.

According to the filing, AWG said it would close 13 stores, with a group of buyers lined up to operate the remaining 30. Under terms of AWG's proposal, those buyers would purchase portions of the stores' inventories at discounts — groceries at 70% of their valuation; frozen foods and dairy at 60%; meats at 55%; produce; health and beauty care; and seafood at 50%; deli at 45%; floral and general merchandise at 40%; bakery at 35%; greeting cards and private label at 25%; and alcohol and tobacco at 80%.

 

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