Caire’s parent files Chapter 11

Sunday, August 31, 2003

CLEVELAND - Although Chart Industries, the parent company of liquid oxygen manufacturer Caire, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, officials say the filing is simply a means of restructuring debt and that Caire is both profitable and growing.
The company plans to re-emerge from bankruptcy sometime last month. In the meantime, the company’s senior lenders are exchanging debt for equity.

At the re-emergence, the lenders will retain a 95% equity stake. Current shareholders will hold on to 5% with an option to retain an additional 5%.

The restructuring is not expected to have any impact on Caire’s operations, said Ian Pope, vice president of the company’s medical group.

The bankruptcy, he said, is a “positive thing. We are coming out stronger, leaner, fitter, faster, better capitalized, more able to go develop the things we need to develop, and more able to continue to improve customer service.”

Five years ago, when Caire dumped its Breeze oxygen concentrator and refocused the business on liquid oxygen (see HME News, July 1998), the company was in perilous shape.

But today, thanks to its Liberator liquid oxygen reservoir and the reception of the company’s new competitor to Helios, the Spirit, business has bounced back.

“Since [exiting the concentrator market], this business has recovered hugely,” said Pope. “We’ve had growth rates in excess of 20-25% per year, and profitable margins. We’ve had growth in personnel, growth in sales and growth in geographical penetration.” HME