As we went to press, Irving Tanning announced that they had signed a letter of intent to sell the business to Meriturn Partners. Meriturn, with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and San Francisco, specialise in restructuring companies which need turning around.

If the Irving sale goes through, the company will continue supplying leather to shoe, handbag and personal leathergoods manufacturers and remain an important employer in Somerset County. A hearing to consider the sale is scheduled for May 25. Irving’s creditors include Banknorth, the Town of Hartland and Tyson Fresh Meats. Irving are Hartland’s biggest employers.

Currently the company and their 250 employees continue to operate and for a second time have been granted cash collateral by a US Bankruptcy Court judge. This allowed Irving to meet payroll for hourly employees.

Salaried employees have not been paid since Judge Louis H Kornreich agreed to a similar arrangement on March 24. The ruling gave Irving 30 days to operate while they sought to restructure their debt and obtain additional investment capital. At the time, Kornreich allowed Irving to convert $14.5 million in assets into cash, in order to do so.

Irving Tanning are seeking Chapter 11 relief for the second time in four years.