Emerging from Chapter 11

21 May 2002

Irving Tanning have announced an agreement with their lenders which represents a major step toward Irving's emergence from Chapter 11. Under this agreement, Irving Tanning will have access to a new and larger revolving credit facility and will substantially reduce their debt. 'This was the last major step to allow Irving Tanning to emerge from Chapter 11', said David Middleton, Irving Tanning's ceo. 'We look forward to immediately completing the restructuring and to moving forward to grow the company in partnership with our valued customers, suppliers and employees.' Irving expect to propose a plan of reorganisation within the next 30 days. Upon filing the plan, the US Bankruptcy Code requires a minimum of 50 to 60 days to reach a confirmation hearing. Irving Tanning began operations in Hartland in 1936 and currently employ around 300 people there. Irving Tanning filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on March 29, 2001, amid declining US shoemaking volume and the skyrocketing cost of cattle hides due to a worldwide supply shortage brought on by foot and mouth and BSE. Irving Tanning immediately embarked on an aggressive turnaround programme that has included cost-cutting measures, improved manufacturing quality and efficiency, and new product and market development. Having returned to profitability and obtained the support of their lenders, Irving Tanning is poised to emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, leaner, revitalised company.

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