US grocery distributor Fleming has said that unless it is able to obtain sufficient alternative financing, it now believes that its 2002 financial statements will likely include a going-concern uncertainty.

Based on earlier discussions with its lenders, the company said it does not expect to reach closure on an amendment to its credit facility and now believes that additional near-term financing is necessary to allow the company to continue to fulfil its obligations on a timely basis.

Fleming also said it will file the necessary documentation with the Securities and Exchange Commission to obtain a 15-day extension from the 28 March deadline for the filing of its annual report for the fiscal year ended 28 December 2002.

Fleming said the extra time is necessary to allow it to properly account for and assess the significant business changes affecting the company. Although the conclusions that will result from Fleming’s ongoing assessment of these issues and the related Audit and Compliance Committee investigation are not yet complete, the company said it is likely to restate certain of its historical financial statements and related disclosures previously filed with the SEC.

Fleming confirmed that it has settled all pre-petition and post-petition disputes with troubled convenience store chain Kmart relating to Kmart’s bankruptcy filing and the subsequent termination of its supply agreement with Fleming. The bankruptcy court entered an order approving the settlement on 25 March and Fleming said it has received US$37m in cash payments.

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