Buyer sought for bankrupt St. Louis wholesale baker

by Josh Sosland
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ST. LOUIS — A takeover or an infusion of capital is being sought for Theodoro Baking Co., a wholesale baking business that declared bankruptcy earlier this year. Based in Hazelwood, Theodoro filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 23 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division.

“Everything is on the table,” said Bonnie L. Clair, an attorney with Summers Compton Wells in St. Louis. “It’s possible there will be a sale or an investment by a strategic partner.”

Ms. Clair, who has been representing Theodoro in the bankruptcy, said the company has been operating with debtor-in-possession financing since the filing.

The company has more than 100 employees and operates a baking plant in Hazelwood where it produces wholesale baked foods and frozen bakery products marketed to a wide range of customers, including supermarkets, convenience stores and institutional customers such as in-house cafeterias. Its products are sold in the St. Louis region as well as into other unspecified markets around the country. Customers in the St. Louis area are supplied through direct-store delivery distribution.

Theodoro’s products include donuts, bread, bagels, cakes, cookies, pastries, other sweet goods. The company’s annual sales are estimated at $6 million to $7 million though were significantly higher several years ago.

Ms. Clair said R.L. Hulett & Company, Inc., a St. Louis-based investment firm, has been engaged to facilitate the sale of the business. Representatives of Hulett were unavailable for comment, but materials from the company indicate a significant capacity expansion in 2011 was completed earlier this year.

Theodoro is owned by Michael Daniels of St. Louis. The company’s primary secured lender was Great Southern Bank, owed about $3.4 million. A filing in late November cited additional debt of $424,345.44 in “unsecured priority obligations due and owing as well as approximately $2,508,803.24 of general unsecured debt.”
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