Merisant set to emerge from bankruptcy

by Jeff Gelski
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CHICAGO — Merisant Worldwide, Inc., a global leader in tabletop sweeteners, may emerge from bankruptcy as early as Jan. 8, 2010, after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Dec. 16 confirmed the company’s plan of reorganization.

Implementing the plan will reduce the aggregate principal amount of Merisant’s indebtness to about $147 million from $567 million and will reduce the company’s annual cash interest expense to $11 million from about $36 million. As a result of the restructuring, Wayzata Investment Partners, through the funds it manages, has become the majority and controlling shareholder of Merisant Co. and its subsidiaries.

“As a result of the plan, Merisant now has a significantly improved capital structure and liquidity profile,” said Paul Block, chairman and chief executive officer of Merisant. “Over the last couple of years the company has worked diligently to improve the efficiency of our operations, stabilize our core sweetener business and launch innovative natural sweetener products. With this plan, we now have the right structure in place to execute our strategies.”

Merisant Worldwide, Inc. and its U.S. subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 9, 2009. Whole Earth Sweetener Co. L.L.C., a subsidiary of Merisant Worldwide, offers PureVia, a high-intensity sweetener that features rebaudioside A extracted from the stevia plant. 

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