Interstate Bakeries Exits Bankruptcy

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Interstate Bakeries Corp (IBCIQ.PK), the maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies snack cakes, said on Tuesday it has emerged from bankruptcy after operating under court protection for more than four years.

Interstate, based in Kansas City, Missouri, filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2004, as a drop in sales and higher costs for ingredients, energy, health care and pensions led to a cash crunch.

Its reorganization plan was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Kansas City in December, but its emergence was delayed several weeks as it renegotiated a critical credit agreement with lender GE Capital Corp (GE.N).

During its bankruptcy protection, the company also revised labor agreements and altered its debt structure.

Under the reorganization plan, private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings will invest $130 million in the company and take it private. Ripplewood will own a 50 percent stake in the company.

Silver Point Finance is also providing $339 million to fund the company’s bankruptcy exit, while a credit agreement with GE Capital will provide about $125 million. (Reporting by Emily Chasan; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)