Imperial Sugar Company (AMEX:IHK) yesterday reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of the fiscal year ended September 30, 2000, and announced the status of negotiations for financial restructuring.

The Company indicated that it was not in compliance with certain financial covenants under its Senior Credit Agreement at September 30, 2000, and that it will not pay $12.2 million in interest on its $250 million 9 3/4% Senior Subordinated Notes (“Notes”) due December 15, 2000. The indenture for the Notes provides a thirty-day grace period. The Company and its senior lenders have entered into an interim waiver agreement waiving effective through January 8, 2001, this non-compliance and the effect of not paying the scheduled December 15th interest payment on the Notes. Under this agreement, the Senior Credit Agreement lenders will continue to provide working capital financing for the Company’s operations. The Company also announced that the liquidity line of credit issued in favor of the purchaser of its accounts receivable purchase facility has been extended to January 8, 2001.

“We and our financial advisors, Wasserstein Perella & Company, have been working over the past several months with Harris Trust and Savings Bank, the agent bank for our Senior Credit Agreement lenders, as well as a steering committee of lenders under that agreement, and with an ad hoc committee of our noteholders to develop a consensual restructuring plan that will enable us to delever our balance sheet through a conversion of the Company’s Notes into common equity and greatly enhance the financial strength of Imperial Sugar, while enabling it to remain an independent company under existing management,” stated James C. Kempner, President and CEO.

“These discussions have been constructive and fruitful, and I believe we will soon reach an agreement with both groups of creditors which will put the Company on track to complete a restructuring during fiscal 2001,” Mr. Kempner continued. “Whether a Chapter 11 filing is utilized or not to complete the restructuring, our discussions with the two creditor groups contemplate that our suppliers and other trade creditors will continue to be paid in full and on time, that agreements and contracts with customers will remain in force and that there will be no disruption in our operations.”

Net sales for the fourth quarter were $457.2 million, compared with net sales of $487.9 million for the year-ago period. The Company reported a net loss of $37.1 million for the quarter, or $(1.15) per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $8.6 million, or $(0.27) per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Net sales in the Company’s sugar segment decreased year over year, primarily as a result of lower sales prices for refined sugar. Foodservice net sales declined primarily as a result of lower sales prices received for refined sugar sold in foodservice markets.

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Gross margin in the recent quarter decreased to $19.4 million, or 4.2% of net sales, from $39.9 million, or 8.2% of net sales, reported in the same period a year ago. The decrease was primarily attributable to significantly lower sales prices for refined sugar in both the sugar and foodservice segments as well as higher energy costs, particularly in California, which more than offset benefits from lower raw sugar costs during the fiscal 2000 fourth quarter.

As previously announced, the Company will discontinue processing sugar beets in December at its two Northern California sugarbeet factories and has ceased refining operations in its Clewiston, Florida plant. As a result, the Company took a charge in the fourth quarter of approximately $27.5 million, or $17.9 million ($0.55 per share) after tax, of which approximately $16.0 million before tax is related to impairment costs. Additionally, during the fourth quarter, the Company forfeited to the Commodity Credit Corporation (“CCC”) refined beet sugar securing $47.1 million of non-recourse loans from the CCC in full satisfaction of the principal and interest due on those loans. The forfeited value of the refined sugar exceeded the value realizable in a market sale.

For fiscal 2000, the Company reported net sales of $1.8 billion, slightly below those recorded in fiscal 1999. Net loss for the full year ended September 30, 2000, was $34.7 million, or $(1.07) per diluted share, versus a net loss of $18.1 million, or $(0.57) per diluted share, a year ago. Excluding securities gains of $23.3 million after tax, or $0.72 per diluted share, and the charge for discontinuing sugar production at the facilities described above, the Company would have reported a net loss of $40.0 million, or $(1.24) per diluted share, in fiscal 2000. Excluding a non-recurring, non-cash charge of $10.9 million after tax, or $(0.34) per diluted share, to write off its investment in a limited partnership, and a gain on sales of securities of $3.0 million after tax, or $0.10 per diluted share, the Company would have reported a net loss of $10.2 million, or $(0.32) per diluted share, in fiscal 1999.

At September 30, 2000, available unused borrowing capacity under the Senior Credit Agreement was $97.5 million. Available unused borrowing capacity at December 12, 2000, was $81.4 million.

In light of its non-compliance with certain financial covenants at September 30, 2000, the Company has classified substantially all of its long-term debt as current liabilities.

Imperial Sugar Company is the largest processor and marketer of refined sugar in the United States and a major distributor to the foodservice market. The Company markets its products nationally under the Imperial(TM), Dixie Crystals(TM), Spreckels(TM), Pioneer(TM), Holly(TM), Diamond Crystal(TM) and Wholesome Sweeteners(TM) brands. Additional information about Imperial Sugar may be found on its web site at

Statements regarding the status of financing arrangements, the status and outcomes of restructuring discussions, future market prices, operating results, synergies, sugarbeet acreage, future operating efficiencies, cost savings and other statements which are not historical facts contained in this release are forward-looking statements that involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. These include, but are not limited to, the negotiating positions of various constituencies, the results of negotiations, market factors, the effect of weather and economic conditions, farm and trade policy, the ability of the Company to realize planned cost savings, the available supply of sugar, available quantity and quality of sugarbeets and other factors detailed in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially from those indicated.

(In Thousands, Except Per Share Data)

Three Months Ended Twelve Months Ended
September 30, September 30,
————————– ————————–
2000 1999 2000 1999
———— ———— ———— ————

Net Sales $ 457,154 $ 487,895 $ 1,821,231 $ 1,888,630
Cost of Sales 437,761 448,041 1,682,529 1,704,339
———— ———— ———— ————
Gross Margin 19,393 39,854 138,702 184,291

Selling, General
& Administrative 24,889 24,938 87,004 85,115
Asset Impairment
& Other Charges 27,541 — 27,541 —
& Amortization 10,601 12,195 51,979 51,272
———— ———— ———— ————
Operating Income
(Loss) (43,638) 2,721 (27,822) 47,904

Interest Expense (13,154) (14,072) (56,656) (59,071)
Securities Gains — 26 35,874 4,697
Loss on Equity
Investment in
Partnership — — — (16,706)
Other 147 (522) 954 1,598
———— ———— ———— ————
Loss Before
Income Tax
Benefit (56,645) (11,847) (47,650) (21,578)
Income Tax
Benefit (19,542) (3,263) (12,973) (3,454)
———— ———— ———— ————
Net Loss $ (37,103) $ (8,584) $ (34,677) $ (18,124)
============ ============ ============ ============

Basic and
Diluted Loss
Per Share
Common Stock: $ (1.15) $ (0.27) $ (1.07) $ (0.57)

Average Shares
Outstanding 32,361,994 32,200,474 32,293,759 31,712,602

Note: Includes the results of Diamond Crystal from November 2, 1998.

(In Thousands)

September 30, September 30,
2000 1999
———- ———-
Cash and temporary investments $ 6,533 $ 7,925
Marketable securities 4,612 65,496
Accounts receivable 63,378 64,458
Finished Products 97,625 157,869
Raw and in-process materials 50,261 61,299
Supplies 39,585 39,896
———- ———-
Total Inventory 187,471 259,064
Deferred costs and prepaid expenses 48,251 43,461
———- ———-
Total current assets 310,245 440,404

PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT – net 357,681 402,364

GOODWILL & OTHER INTANGIBLES – net 395,818 406,627

OTHER ASSETS 29,946 31,388
———- ———-
TOTAL $1,093,690 $1,280,783
========== ==========

Accounts payable $ 105,457 $ 141,428
Short-term borrowings 1,671 1,611
Current and deemed current maturities of
long-term debt 436,350 12,114
Deferred income taxes-net 16,285 10,719
Other current liabilities 114,646 72,443
———- ———-
Total current liabilities 674,409 238,315

LONG TERM DEBT- net 20,000 553,577

DEFERRED INCOME TAXES- net 1,117 32,481


SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY 318,601 373,424
———- ———-
TOTAL $1,093,690 $1,280,783
========== ==========

Detail of Long Term Debt

Senior Revolving Credit Facility $ 30,000 $ 91,500
Senior Term Debt 150,767 192,068
Subordinated Debt 250,000 250,000
Other 25,583 32,123
———- ———-
Total long term debt 456,350 565,691
Current and deemed current maturities of
long-term debt 436,350 12,114
———- ———-
LONG TERM DEBT- net $ 20,000 $ 553,577
========== ==========