A federal judge has approved $15 million in loans for Future Beef Operations (FBO), which filed for bankruptcy in March. The US Bankruptcy Court in Denver has approved the loans. (See April 2002, Leather International).

‘This is good news for everybody’, said Carl Eklund, FBO’s attorney. ‘Now we’re going to have a chance to work. This keeps the doors open to develop a plan.’ The court previously had authorised interim loans of $2 million and an additional $4 million before the hearing on the full loan request.

FBO, who opened a plant in Arkansas City in August 2001, were forced by creditors of the local plant to file for bankruptcy on March 4. FBO headquarters is in Parker, Colorado. Since FBO filed for bankruptcy, their Arkansas City plant has continued in full operation with more than 900 employees, said John Meetz, company vice president.

The company plan to add more employees after new value-added processing areas are operational. Those operations include marinated food lines such as cooked roast beef and pastrami as well as the tannery operations.

The Chapter 11 case is likely to continue for four to six months, Eklund said. Next, FBO hope to complete a restructuring plan, which must be confirmed by the court. Once the plan is developed, FBO will begin negotiations with a creditors committee and bank lenders.