Just 14 months after filing for Ch. 11 bankruptcy reorganization, Body Masters has indeed done what it said it would do -- exited the court's oversight with unanimous court and creditor approval.
"We're excited. We're relieved, but we also know we have a responsibility going forward," President Ray Boudreaux told SNEWSÂ®.
In a ruling by a federal judge March 7 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette/Opelousas, the strength company based in Rayne, La., accepted the reorganization plan -- a month later than the Body Masters team had hoped for but without any major glitches. Formal paperwork should be issued by the court by mid-March.
"The work has just really begun," Boudreaux said. "When you emerge like this you also have to perform. Our plan going forward impressed the judge."
Its first appearance as a new, reorganized company will be at the IHRSA trade show, opening March 21 in Las Vegas, Nev. There, it plans to show more equipment than it has in the past and more additions to its Premiere premium strength line it originally introduced a year ago, said Boudreaux, who is an 18-year Body Masters veteran. Being a company that avoids splash and hype, Body Masters doesn't plan any celebrations or special signage.
"We're just showing people that we're fine," Boudreaux said. "We're a low-key company. We just want people to see us in our performance.
During the time under court-directed reorganization, which Boudreaux had told SNEWSÂ® last fall "wasn't a lot of fun, but it was good for the company," Body Masters reorganized management, pushed ahead with equipment design changes, streamlined production, updated its technology, improved steel purchasing methods to reduce costs, and worked on improvements to sales, marketing and distribution. As it has been since it was founded in 1979, Body Masters (www.body-masters.com) will remain a privately held company as it moves forward.
Now, the company should be beyond what slowly got it to the Ch. 11 filing, as Boudreaux explained to SNEWSÂ® in a Nov. 21, 2005, story, "Body Masters Ch. 11 reorganization surging strongly ahead" (click here to read). That included failing to modernize manufacturing processes and equipment designs, which although still functionally sound had become "stale," he had said.
"One of the many reasons for our success is our customers are pretty persistent," Boudreaux said. "People wanted to see us emerge."
SNEWSÂ® View: This is an amazing good news story. The industry has seen way too many companies -- both manufacturers and retailers -- file for reorganization then move on to liquidate or be picked apart in a fire sale. Body Masters needed true roll-up-your-sleeves diligence to see this process to the end and emerge with improved and streamlined processes.