Levine Leichtman Capital Partners Completes Werner Recapitalization

Press Release | Source: PR Newswire

Press Release | Source: PR Newswire

GREENVILLE, Pa., June 11, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Werner announced today that the sale of substantially all of its assets to a group of the company's investors was completed. This sale transaction, approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 25, 2007, allows Werner's ladder business to successfully emerge from bankruptcy and continue its operational turnaround. 

The new Werner company is now owned by a group of investors including Black Diamond Capital Management LLC, Brencourt Advisors LLC, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners III, L.P., Milk Street Investors LLC, Schultze Asset Management LLC, and TCW Shared Opportunity Funds. 

James J. Loughlin, Jr., Werner's interim Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very pleased that this transaction has closed and Werner will successfully emerge from bankruptcy. The new Werner will continue to operate its business of making and selling the country's best ladders. We have substantially reduced our debt as over $300 million of liabilities have been extinguished. Werner will benefit from improved liquidity that will allow the company to serve its customers, complete its operational restructuring and continue to improve sales and profitability."

Loughlin added, "Werner is well positioned for future success. We have reduced our operating costs while continuing to improve and expand our product offerings and we are well on our way to becoming the most profitable ladder manufacturer. The company's new products continue to win awards for innovation while serving unfilled needs in the climbing product marketplace. The management and employees of Werner are committed to serving our customers and teaming with our suppliers and other business partners to remain the leader in each of our product segments."

About Werner Co. 
Werner Co. is the world's leading manufacturer and distributor of ladders, climbing equipment and ladder accessories. Backed by over 50 years of product innovation, Werner leads the industry with its commitment to the design and manufacture of quality products that meet or exceed applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) codes and standards for strength and structural integrity. Werner is headquartered in Greenville, Pennsylvania. For more information about Werner Co., please visit http://www.wernerladder.com . 

About Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C.
Founded in 1995, Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C. is an alternative asset management firm with approximately $10 billion under management in a combination of distressed-debt/private equity funds, hedge funds and structured vehicles. Black Diamond has offices in Greenwich, CT, Lake Forest, IL and London, U.K. 

About Brencourt Advisors LLC 
Brencourt Advisors, LLC was formed in 2001 as a registered investment advisor to various alternative investment funds. Brencourt currently manages approximately $2 billion in assets and has offices in both New York, NY and London, U.K. 

About Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Inc.
Levine Leichtman Capital Partners is a Los Angeles, California private equity firm that was founded in 1984 by Arthur E. Levine and Lauren B. Leichtman. The firm manages in excess of $2.0 billion of institutional investment capital through private equity partnerships. LLCP has a highly differentiated, multi-fund investment strategy focused on companies with revenues less than $500 million. 

About Schultze Asset Management, LLC
Founded in 1998, Schultze Asset Management, LLC (http://www.samco.net/) is a leading alternative investments firm specializing in distressed and special situations investing. The firm manages approximately $750 million in assets on behalf of institutional and high net worth clients located throughout the world. Schultze's offices are in Purchase, NY. 

About TCW Shared Opportunity Funds
The TCW Shared Opportunity Funds have invested over $1 billion in distressed middle market companies during the past 15 years and are affiliated with Trust Company of the West ("TCW"). Founded in 1971, TCW develops and manages a broad range of innovative, value-added investment products that strive to enhance and protect clients' wealth. The firm has approximately $160 billion in assets under management. TCW is a subsidiary of Societe Generale Asset Management, which has approximately $500 billion under management and is a division of Societe Generale Group.