A new chapter has been opened in the 106-year saga of Lehi Roller Mills.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge R. Kimball Mosier on Tuesday approved the sale of the company’s assets for $4.68 million to KEB Enterprises, a holding company headed by Kenneth E. Brailsford, a former top executive at several Utah-based multilevel marketing companies including Nature’s Sunshine Products and Enrich International.
Brailsford said he intends to continue to operate the company with the goal of “getting its sales back up and turning it into a profitable enterprise.” He added that he plans to continue to provide jobs for the mill’s 22 employees.
Lehi Roller Mills, a landmark on Main Street in Lehi for generations, filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in December. Although the company continued to operate while under bankruptcy court protection, its sales were only about $200,000 a month, a shadow of the approximately $800,000 to $1 million in monthly sales it enjoyed before running into financial difficulties.
Sherman Robinson, president of the family-owned mill for the past 30 years, told Judge Mosier that he supported the sale to KEB and believed that if the transaction didn’t take place quickly, the business would have to close.
He explained that the mill’s financial struggles began about four years ago after he secured a loan from America West. When state regulators closed the Layton bank in 2009, the mill’s assets were frozen — meaning the company had no collateral to obtain a loan elsewhere. Other problems followed, resulting in the Chapter 11 filing.
Mark Hashimoto, who in March was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as chief restructuring officer for the mill, said the sale of the company’s assets to KEB offers the best chance for the company’s unsecured creditors, who are owed approximately $7 million, to receive a partial payment on what they are owned — albeit it will likely be a small 5 percent.