State Offers Help for Norwalk Furniture, While Bank Refuses to Budge

2008-07-24 14:17:00

State Offers Help for Norwalk Furniture, While Bank Refuses to Budge

     Multi-million Dollar Loan Could Help Salvage as Many as 2,000 Jobs



    NORWALK, Ohio, July 24 /EMWNews/ -- In an effort to combat the

unexpected shut down of Norwalk Furniture's operations, the State of Ohio's

Department of Development has graciously extended a multi-million dollar

loan offer that would allow the company to resume operations and pursue its

restructuring plan.



    The July 18 shut down was the result of sudden demands by Comerica, the

company's principal banker, that Norwalk Furniture retire its $11 million

revolving debt, forcing the company to idle more than 840 production and

office employees across Ohio, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.



    Although five private equity firms have shown interest in negotiating a

purchase of the company, Comerica has continued to refuse negotiations with

them. If the bank chooses not to negotiate the debt, the company could be

forced to shut down permanently and liquidate its assets, leaving as many

as 2,000 workers jobless.



    According to Domenic Aversa, acting CEO of Norwalk Furniture, the

state's offer is a valuable contribution to a difficult situation.



    "If Comerica forces a liquidation of company assets, they will actually

yield less money than they would if they accepted one of many investment

offers. More importantly, 2,000 workers in four states will suffer," said

Aversa. "Norwalk is a 106-year-old company that, since its inception, has

positively impacted the communities in which our plants and stores are

located. We are simply asking for the chance to discuss our options for the

sake of our employees and their families."



    Norwalk has worked closely with Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee

Fisher on the term sheet that has been submitted to company executives. The

loan is designed to help a prospective buyer purchase the company, and its

debt, from Comerica. Once a firm commitment is submitted, it will be up to

Comerica to decide the company's fate.



    Norwalk Furniture Corporation, founded in 1902, is a family-owned

company that makes quality upholstered furniture sold under the Norwalk, J.

Raymond and Hickory Hill trade names. The company also has a network of

retail stores, Norwalk - The Furniture Idea, which includes company and

independently owned franchised furniture stores throughout the United

States and Canada.



    For information, visit the Norwalk Furniture Web site at

http://www.norwalkfurniture.com .





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