Management & Operations

Blue Bird restructuring approved

Posted on February 1, 2006

Blue Bird Corp., manufacturer of commercial buses, school buses and luxury motorhomes in Fort Valley, Ga., announced in late January that its lenders have agreed to increase the company’s borrowing availability by $52.5 million through a new and expanded loan agreement. Blue Bird also said that, in cooperation with its lenders, it is moving forward with a debt-for-equity conversion plan that will dramatically strengthen its balance sheet. The restructuring was achieved through a prepackaged court filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Nevada, and provides a full recovery to the company’s general unsecured creditors. The company will continue to operate on a normal basis. “This news marks a positive step forward in Blue Bird’s financial restructuring that will ensure our long-term financial health,” said CEO/President Jeff Bust. “Blue Bird has made unequaled improvements in quality, on-time delivery and set a new standard for customer service in the bus industry. With new financing in place, the benefits of those improvements will become even more apparent. The prepackaged court filing is the most efficient method of completing the restructuring. It preserves all supplier claims and protects our customers and employees.” The company stressed that the financial restructuring process would not interrupt normal business operations, adding that Blue Bird remains committed to meeting its delivery schedules and maintaining the highest standards of quality and service. “We are very grateful for the flexibility and cooperation shown by our senior lenders over the past few months,” Bust said. “Their support is a vote of confidence in our business model, our superior products and our excellent management team.” In other news, Volvo wrote down its holding in Blue Bird by $71 million. The writedown has no cash effect. Volvo has owned 42.5 percent of Peach County Holdings, the company that owns Blue Bird, since 2004. Other owners of the company include a consortium of banks, a British pension fund and Blue Bird management.

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