Imperial Sugar Base Case

By Sean Gallagher  |  Posted 2002-03-18 Print this article Print

Even as it filed for bankruptcy protection, the sugar powerhouse sought a high-tech escape hatch framed by XML and J2EE.

Imperial Sugar Base Case

Headquarters: 1 Imperial Square, Sugar Land, Texas

Phone Number: (281) 491-9181

Business: The largest processor and marketer of refined sugar in the United States and a distributor of sugar, sauces, seasonings, drink mixes and desserts to the food-service industry

Chief Information Officer: George Muller

Financials in 2001: $1.55 billion in net sales, $322.8 million in net losses in fiscal year ending in September (combining results before and after bankruptcy)

Challenge: Return a company still heavily in debt to profitability in an industry with only 1%-2% annual growth and product prices at 15-year-lows

Baseline Goals:

  • Avoid default on $230 million of post-restructuring debt
  • Meet bank loan covenants, including minimum ratio of "liquid" assets to current liabilities. At end of fiscal year, company had $1.54 of cash-like assets for each $1 of immediate liabilities
  • Reduce order-processing costs through automated self-service over the Web, improving operating margin from 1 cent on the dollar

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    Sean Gallagher is editor of Ziff Davis Internet's enterprise verticals group. Previously, Gallagher was technology editor for Baseline, before joining Ziff Davis, he was editorial director of Fawcette Technical Publications' enterprise developer publications group, and the Labs managing editor of CMP's InformationWeek. A former naval officer and former systems integrator, Gallagher lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

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