BREAKING: Smurfit-Stone files for bankruptcy

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., the largest producer of cardboard box materials in North America, on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it looks to restructure a heavy debt amid a global credit freeze.

There was no immediate word on how the filing would impact the company's Lewisburg facility.

The local facility employs between 80-100 people, according to Terry Wallace, the city's industrial development director.

The Chicago-based company, which employs nearly 22,000 people working at about 150 facilities across North America and in Asia, said it filed for protection from creditor claims in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., while it develops a financial reorganization plan. Its Canadian units will file under the companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the company said.

Smurfit-Stone has been struggling to repay its debt, which at the end of the third quarter was $3.5 billion -- nearly half its yearly revenue of roughly $7.5 billion.

Look for more updates online and in Friday's print edition of the Tribune.