Eying Okonite

At least a half-dozen out-of-state companies are seriously considering buying Okonite, the profitable subsidiary of James Ling’s bankrupt conglomerate, Omega-Alpha. Also, after months of consideration, a fast-growing Texas corporation may be about to enter the bidding picture. Bids for Okonite should be complete by October, and the successful bidder might close the deal before spring.

Among those out-of-staters looking are Bethlehem Copper Corporation, Pirelli Tire Corporation, The Richardson Company, Alcan Aluminum and the employees of Okonite. The Richardson Company and Alcan seem outside chances, while Bethlehem and Pirelli seem more serious contenders. Another possibility has been raised by Okonite Chairman Victor Viggiano, who said that a group of Okonite executives might bid to buy their own company. Viggiano has been cautioned by Federal bankruptcy Judge Dean Gandy that the employees’ offer must not become a conflict of interest with their consideration of other offers.

The other major contender is an expansive young Texas corporation, which if it were identified, a source close to the negotiations said, would “ruin our chances and hurt a lot of people who want to see this thing settled quickly.” An objective of the Texas corporation’s bid, the source said, “is to be sure the sale of Okonite isn’t for a bargain basement price.” If the Texas corporation is outbid, “somebody will have to pay a reasonable price to do it,” the source said.

Okonite continues to do well in theinterim, while awaiting its disposition.The syndicate of banks financing Okonite has said it is satisfied with thecompany’s performance and indicatedit is willing to extend Okonite’s loanagreements and even lower the interest rates.

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