Universal Cooperatives Files For Ch. 11 Bankruptcy

Universal Cooperatives, Inc., and its subsidiaries owe their largest creditors nearly $20 million.

Universal Cooperatives, Inc., an Eagan-based farm supply cooperative, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it plans to sell off various businesses.
Universal’s filing includes the following five wholly-owned subsidiaries: Kansas City-based Heritage Trading Company, Albert Lea-based Bridon Cordage, and Universal Crop Protection Alliance, Agrilon International, and Pavalon, Inc., all three of which are based in Eagan.
According to court documents, Universal and its businesses employ 171 people, 115 of whom are hourly and 56 of whom are salaried. Monday calls to Universal seeking details about whether the bankruptcy filing will impact those workers were not immediately returned.
Universal provides manufacturing, distribution, and purchasing services for the farming industry. The company said it filed for Chapter 11 in the bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware “for the purpose of maximizing value through the sale of its ongoing businesses.”
The company owes its top five creditors a total of nearly $8 million and more than $10 million to its next 25 highest creditors.
In conjunction with its Chapter 11 filing, Universal filed a motion with the court to ensure the payment of employee wages and benefits so that it said it can maintain its “operational and cash management functions” and “complete a smooth transition into operating under the protections of Chapter 11.”
Universal said it obtained financing from Bank of America in connection with the bankruptcy process in order to support continuing business operations. The company said it expects to continue purchasing goods and services from suppliers and pay suppliers for their goods during the Chapter 11 process.