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Fleming Exit Plan Hearing Set

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware is scheduled to hear arguments today in a confirmation proceeding on Fleming Co. Inc.'s plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reported

Fleming plans to reorganize around its San Francisco-based Core-Mark division, which it bought in 2002. The division distributes products to convenience stores. The company will be called Core-Mark Newco.

If the plan is confirmed, the company will have projected assets of $468 million and $320 million in liabilities, Fleming's chief restructuring officer Ted Stenger said in court filings.

"While Core-Mark's prospects are strong if the plan is confirmed now, they will not remain so if the cloud of uncertainty created by the bankruptcy continues to interfere with business development," Stenger argued in court papers urging the plan's approval.

Financial projections compiled by Stenger claim Core-Mark can be profitable and generate shareholder return throughout at least 2008. He projected annual sales between $4 billion and $5 billion, a fraction of the $15 billion in sales Fleming had before bankruptcy.

Core-Mark executives were hopeful. "We are optimistic the court is going to approve the plan of reorganization," said Henry Hautau, Core-Mark's vice president of employee and corporate services. "We see no reason why it won't, but in the final analysis, it's in the hands of the court."

If the plan is approved by U.S. bankruptcy judge Mary F. Walrath, Core-Mark is expected to have about 3,200 employees, down from Fleming's 15,000 at the time of the bankruptcy.
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