Jun 11, 2012

Blitz, USA announces plant closing, Miami, OK


Flick said Blitz USA during the past two years has been operating an extremely litigious environment and has been working toward a solution to manage its litigation defense and insurance costs.
Category: General
Posted by: MAEDS

Blitz USA is closing its plant July 31 -Miami News Record: News 

Blitz USA is closing its plant July 31
Posted: Monday, June 11,20124:57 pm I Updated: 11:25 pm, Mon Jun 11,2012.
Jerry Herrmann Miami News-Record I 

Time has run out for Blitz USA, which was struggling to emerge from bankruptcy for about the past six months.  Rocky Flick, president and CEO of Blitz USA, announced Monday the final is closing its sole manufacturing facility in Miami, effective July 31, and ceasing sales of its portable fuel containers.  Flick said Blitz USA during the past two years has been operating an extremely litigious environment and has been working toward a solution to manage its litigation defense and insurance costs.  Amanda Emerson, Blitz USA external affairs, told the Miami News-Record in May that the finn was asking Congress to pass federal safety standards for products necessary to safely transport and store gasoline.  Emerson said the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association believes congressional intervention is the key to stabilizing the business environment so that the rest of its members can continue supplying the products necessary for safely transporting and storing gasoline," she said.  Sadly, Congress is too late for Blitz USA, she said.  She also said that the company's product liability insurance expires this summer with minimal options for Blitz USA to renew it. Without th insurance, she said Blitz USA might be forced to cease production by mid-summer, which is what is happening.

Blitz USA, which manufactures 75 percent of the portable gas cans sold in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November as a result of litigation primarily characterized by individuals using gas to start or accelerate a fire.
When Blitz USA F3 Brands filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 9, 2011, Emerson said, they had 300 employees. Since then, the assets of F3 Brands have been purchased by Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation. When Blitz USA created F3 Brands, which began its separate nln on Oct. 1, 2011, it employed about 120 employees at its Miami site.  Unfortunately, Flick said, Blitz, its lenders and insurers could not find a viable solution with personal injury attorneys to address the untenable litigation costs.

"This is a sad day in the 46-year history of Blitz and for our 117 employees," Flick said. "We appreciate the support of our employees and their families in our efforts to reorganize and develop a viable business plan. Unfortunately, we were not able to address the costs of the increased litigation associated with our fuel containlnent products."  Flick said Blitz has begun efforts to market the business and its remaining assets for sale. The sale process, he said, will likely take three months, subject to approval by the Bankruptcy Court.

"It is premature to indicate if a sales process will be successful or if it will allow the resumption ofmanufacturing activities in Miami," he said. Flick stressed that F3 Brands continues to manufacture and market its do-it-yourself branded automotive maintenance, storage and outdoor products in Miami.

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