CEO Gregory Rayburn, who was hired as a restructuring expert, said Friday that the company booked about $2.5 billion in revenue a year, and that sales volume was flat to slightly down in recent years. So far this year, the company said Twinkies alone accounted for $68 million in sales.
The move to liquidate comes after thousands of members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike last week after rejecting the latest contract offer. The bakers union represents about 30 percent of the company's workforce. A representative for the bakers union did not return a call seeking comment.
Although many workers decided to cross picket lines this week, Hostess said it wasn't enough to keep operations at normal levels; three plants were closed earlier this week. Hostess CEO Gregory Rayburn said Hostess was already operating on thin margins and that the strike was a final blow.
"The strike impacted us in terms of cash flow. The plants were operating well below 50 percent capacity and customers were not getting products," he said.
The company had reached a contract agreement with its largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which this week urged the bakery union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking.
Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer for the Teamsters, said his union members decided to make concessions after hiring consultants who found the company's financials were in a dire situation.
"We believed there was a pathway for this company to return to profitability," Hall said
Although Hall agreed that it was unlikely anyone would buy the entire company, he said "people are going to look for some fire sale prices" for some of the brands.
"Frankly it's tragic, particularly at this this time of year with the holidays around the corner," Hall said, noting that his 6,700 members at Hostess were now out of a job.
Kenneth McGregor, a shipper for Hostess in East Windsor, Conn., arrived at the plant Friday morning and said he was told he was laid off immediately. He blamed the bakery workers union for rejecting a proposed contract.
In a statement on the company website, CEO Rayburn said there would be "severe limits" on the assistance the company could offer workers because of the bankruptcy. The liquidation hearing will go before a bankruptcy judge Monday afternoon; Rayburn said he's confident the judge will approve the motion.
"There's no other alternative," Rayburn said.
AP Reporters Stephen Singer and Ashley Heher contributed to this report.
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