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American Suzuki Wins Bankruptcy Exit-Plan Approval

American Suzuki Motor Corp., the U.S. distributor of Suzuki cars and motorcycles, won court approval of its plan to exit bankruptcy court protection.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Scott C. Clarkson approved the plan that paves the way for the company to leave bankruptcy by the end of March at a hearing yesterday in Santa Ana, California, the company said today in a statement.

The plan, which implements a sale of motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle and marine businesses to a unit of Suzuki Motor Corp., was overwhelmingly accepted by creditors, the company said.

“Today’s confirmation is a significant milestone and is one of the last remaining steps in our realignment and restructuring process,” American Suzuki Chief Restructuring Officer M. Freddie Reiss said in the statement. “This will promote the long-term growth of the Motorcycles/ATV and Marine divisions, as well as providing automotive parts and service through the dealer network.”

American Suzuki, based in Brea, California, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year to wind-down its U.S. automotive business. The company had assets of $233 million and debt of $346 million as of Sept. 30, according to court documents filed in November.

Suzuki Motor Corp., based in Shizuoka, Japan, appointed two independent directors to the distributor’s board, who then formed a committee that put American Suzuki into bankruptcy to end losses in the U.S. market, avoid the cost of federal regulation and shut down a sales network in which more than two-thirds of dealers sold fewer than five cars a month.

The case is In re American Suzuki Motor Corp., 12-22808, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).

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