CHARLESTON, S.C.-A federal bankruptcy judge has canceled an auction of the Santee River Rubber L.L.C. crumb rubber facility in anticipation of a buyer.
G. William McCarthy, the Columbia, S.C., attorney who serves as trustee of the shuttered plant, had filed a motion with Judge John Waites of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston that would have allowed the property to be auctioned off. On Aug. 10, however, Mr. McCarthy asked to table the auction request, saying he needed more time to negotiate a bid on the property with a prospective buyer.
Judge Waites agreed to Mr. McCarthy's motion after creditors' attorneys raised no objection.
Mr. McCarthy said he hopes to submit the buyer's bid to the court by the end of August, to allow Judge Waites to schedule a hearing on an available date in September. He declined to name the bidding party.
Santee River Rubber consists of a 90,000-sq.-ft, state-of-the-art cryogenic crumb rubber grinding facility at Moncks Corner, near Charleston.
Environmental Processing Systems Inc., of Garden City, N.Y., designed and built the plant to produce 150 million pounds of high-quality, fine-mesh crumb rubber annually.
A trial run in July and August 2000 produced several million pounds of high-quality crumb that EPS quickly sold to customers such as Continental Tire North America Inc.
But the construction and ramp-up costs were higher than EPS anticipated, with the result that EPS filed for Chapter 11 protection for Santee River on Oct. 26.
Ridgewood Power L.L.C., the Ridgewood, N.J.-based equity partner in the Santee River project, accused EPS of mismanaging the project and sought to take over the business itself.
Ridgewood Power has invested an estimated $14 million in the property, and it is still interested in it, although it has not made a bid.
Executives of Ridgewood Power declined comment, and EPS's telephone number in Garden City has been disconnected.
Mr. McCarthy said he didn't know whether EPS was out of business, since he never represented that company.