Hines Heads Back To Bankruptcy

Hines Nurseries is planning to lay off 160 employees from its location in Richmond, Texas, according to an Oct. 7 letter the Texas Workforce Commission received.

The Houston Business Journal report that in the letter, Hines planned to file for Chapter 11 and seek “debtor-in-possession financing”

It was also reported late last week that Hines may lay off 96 workers at its Forest Grove, Ore., facility because of its inability to extend its line of credit. The Portland Tribune and OregonLive report that while Hines seeks financing, it expects to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again, based on an Oct. 6 letter sent to local government officials.

Based in Irvine, Calif., Hines Nursery cultivates container plants on nearly 1,200 acres in Forest Grove. Layoffs will be necessary if the company is not able to obtain financing, according to the letter written by Sandra Runyon, Hines’ vice-president of human resources, to Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax, Washington County Chair Andy Duyck and state work force development officials.

We spoke with Hines’ Executive Resource Manager Denise Baharie, who forwarded our inquiry to Runyon. “I don’t think we want to comment one way or the other at this time,” Baharie says.

In an Oct. 13 press release, Hines indicated it has been exploring restructuring options in recent months, including extending a line of credit for purposes of continuing its operations.

Hines also indicated through its press release that subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court, it has secured $5 million in interim debtor-in-possession financing and expects to have up to $20 million on a final basis subject to court execution of definitive documentation and final bankruptcy court approval.

Hines emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008, when a federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware awarded the assets of Hines Horticulture to Black Diamond Capital Management, LLC, an asset management firm. A limited liability corporation, Hines Nurseries LLC, was formed.

Hines also just purchased the assets of Bordier’s Nursery in April. Based in California, Bordier’s also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008. The great recession has hit nursery operations harder than greenhouse floriculture because trees and shrubs are tied closely to housing and construction industries.

Want to know what Greenhouse Grower readers think? 

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4 comments on “Hines Heads Back To Bankruptcy

  1. The backbone of the economy is small businesses. It is unfair that big businesses use legal maneuvering to shed obligations while their top managers enrich themselves contrasting this to the small business owner who complete against these so-called “efficient” big businesses while making sacrifices to ensure that their suppliers and employees are looked after!

  2. This makes me angry. My nursery is struggling as well, against nurseries like Hines that are dumping low margin product into the market under the protection of Chapter 11. But if I tried to go that route (shed liabilities), there’s little question in my mind I’d be forced into a Chapter 7 liquidation. Chapter 11 twice in 3 years is bs…they deserve to fail at this point.

  3. The backbone of the economy is small businesses. It is unfair that big businesses use legal maneuvering to shed obligations while their top managers enrich themselves contrasting this to the small business owner who complete against these so-called “efficient” big businesses while making sacrifices to ensure that their suppliers and employees are looked after!

  4. This makes me angry. My nursery is struggling as well, against nurseries like Hines that are dumping low margin product into the market under the protection of Chapter 11. But if I tried to go that route (shed liabilities), there’s little question in my mind I’d be forced into a Chapter 7 liquidation. Chapter 11 twice in 3 years is bs…they deserve to fail at this point.

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