LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Contessa Premium Foods, Inc. is pleased to announce the recent conclusion of its highly successful Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. On Dec. 21, 2012, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California entered a final decree that marked the conclusion of Contessa’s two-year bankruptcy process that resulted in the sale of its operating businesses and the payment of Contessa’s creditors in full.
The 2008 global economic downturn stressed Contessa’s sales and eventually led its President and CEO, John Z. Blazevich, to put Contessa into bankruptcy on Jan. 26, 2011. With his primary focus on protecting Contessa’s creditors, Mr. Blazevich oversaw an extensive marketing effort that culminated in a spirited auction of Contessa’s businesses. The results were positive. On July 15, 2011, Contessa closed on the sale of its business to the high bidder, a portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners, in a transaction valued at over $50 million. The buyer continues to operate the businesses as Contessa Premium Foods, Inc. Contessa was renamed Contessa Liquidating Co., Inc., and Mr. Blazevich shifted focus to ensure that Contessa’s creditors were paid in full.
Mr. Blazevich’s efforts paid off, and Contessa’s liquidation process was a resounding success and a paradigm against which other bankruptcy cases should be measured. Contessa’s creative Chapter 11 plan permitted qualified creditors to stipulate their claim amounts in exchange for early distributions in December 2011. This process, combined with Mr. Blazevich’s exhaustive efforts to reconcile claims, led to the remaining general unsecured creditors receiving 100 percent distributions in the first calendar quarter of 2012.
“I created a company from nothing and within 27 years I generated nearly $4 billion in aggregate sales. I also built the world’s first ‘green’ LEED certified frozen food manufacturing plant, reducing daily energy use and CO2 emissions by 65 percent (relative to 1990 Kyoto Protocol baseline standards),” Mr. Blazevich stated. “As President/CEO and founder, it was my risk, my reward and ultimately my decision to place Contessa into bankruptcy protection. I am very proud to say that my creditors have been paid in full.”
Mr. Blazevich is the President and CEO of ViVA! Food Group, a direct manufacturer and supplier of farm-raised shrimp from Southeast Asia. Combining exceptional product, low overhead and an experienced staff, ViVA! produces private label products to customer specifications at a competitive price.
“My shrimp operations in Southeast Asia were separate entities. They are still thriving today and continue to produce quality farm-raised shrimp products for customers who want to eliminate the middle man and buy directly from the source. After 30 years, I am still in the game, and I look forward to continuing my extensive relationships in the industry through my new company, ViVA! Food Group,” Mr. Blazevich added.
Contessa’s successful bankruptcy has not gone unrecognized. In the second half of 2012, the professionals in the case, including Kelley Drye & Warren as Contessa’s bankruptcy counsel, were honored with three important awards for their work on Contessa: The Turnaround Management Association Transaction of the Year Award, The Association for Corporate Growth New York Champion’s Award and The Turnaround Atlas Award for Food & Beverage Turnaround of the Year.
Much of this recognition is attributable to the efforts of Mr. Blazevich, whose disciplined management, attention to detail and exemplary stewardship of the claims reconciliation process made his goal to pay creditors in full a remarkable reality.
For more information about ViVA!, please visit www.viva.bz.