Consolidated Horticulture, Supplier to Home Depot, Files for Bankruptcy

Consolidated Horticulture Group LLC, a nursery operator that supplies Home Depot Inc., Lowe’s Cos. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors along with its affiliate Hines Nurseries.

The Irvine, California-based company blamed a decline in sales for the bankruptcy. It listed $179.3 million in assets and $86.7 million in debt as of the end of the second quarter in court papers filed in Wilmington, Delaware. Hines emerged from an earlier bankruptcy in 2009. The revenue decline is the result of “weak consumer demand,” “anemic homebuilding activity,” “pricing pressure” from customers and “inventory imbalances” leading to shortage of critical crops, company Chief Executive Officer Stephen Thigpen said in a court filing.

The group, with about $123 million in sales last year, has about 900 employees producing more than 5,000 varieties of plants, with eight nurseries in Arizona, California, Oregon and Texas, according to court documents. The company says it is one of the largest commercial plant nursery operations in North America.

The company said in a statement it has obtained a $5 million loan to help it reorganize.

Black Diamond Capital Management LLC purchased Hines Nurseries Inc. in a bankruptcy sale in January 2009.

The new case is In re Consolidated Horticulture Group LLC, 10-13308, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The prior case was In re Hines Horticulture Inc., 08-11922, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at pmilford@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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