Court ruling on use of ‘Armstrong’ name clears the way for sale of Armstrong Flooring; companies close to finalizing deal | Local Business

A individual bankruptcy decide cleared a final hurdle Friday early morning for the sale of Armstrong Flooring’s North American property to a team led by Mountville-primarily based AHF Merchandise, and by Friday evening the organizations mentioned the deal should close Monday early morning.

Hundreds of neighborhood positions were being hanging in the harmony as a dispute in excess of the use of naming legal rights threatened to derail the sale and then led to talks that extended into Friday evening.

Pursuing a 10 a.m. Friday hearing on AHF Products’ proper to use the “Armstrong” name and trademarks after a sale, Choose Mary Walrath requested Armstrong Earth Industries to produce created consents specifying that the sale would give AHF Products and solutions the suitable to use the Armstrong name on its flooring. Armstrong World Industries had been withholding all those prepared consents, which are a problem of the sale.

Armstrong World Industries provided the consents by 3 p.m. Friday as needed by the decide but experienced also stated it planned to attraction Walrath’s ruling. Just right before 7 p.m., AHF Products and Armstrong Environment Industries issued a joint statement announcing the pending sale and and claimed they solved the dispute in excess of use of the Armstrong title.

“This is a outcome that satisfies both equally AWI and AHF Merchandise,” the assertion claimed. “Armstrong Environment Industries and AHF Items are both regional Lancaster County corporations and have a vested desire in keeping great shelling out, local employment, as effectively as safeguarding the integrity of the Armstrong brand name.”

After the joint assertion was issued, Armstrong World Industries spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson reported Armstrong Environment Industries would not charm the individual bankruptcy judge’s ruling for the sale of Armstrong Flooring’s North American assets. But she stated the business has appealed the ruling as it relates to the sale of Armstrong Flooring’s assets in China and Australia.

Together with Gordon Brothers Industrial & Industrial of Boston, AHF Products agreed to shell out $107 million for the North American belongings of Armstrong Flooring. The sale would include things like the Lancaster plant alongside Dillerville Street as well as vegetation in Beech Creek Township, Pennsylvania, and Kankakee, Illinois.

Independent agreements have been built for the sale of Armstrong Flooring’s Chinese and Australian operations, with all of the offers totaling $203 million.

“Armstrong is a terrific addition to our broad spouse and children of makes, permitting us to broaden our buyer foundation, and broadening our purchaser foundation is what permits us to expand the plants,” AHF President and CEO Brian Carson mentioned in the joint assertion Friday night. “What’s most essential to AHF is that we get these operations balanced and lucrative. It is profitability that enables advancement. As the company grows, the work grow. For these crops, we experience the ideal times are forward.”

While the joint statement did not supply detail about the arrangements that fixed the naming legal rights concern, it brought to an conclude the stress of the previous various days, when court docket filings uncovered that Armstrong Flooring and its former parent business, Armstrong World Industries, were being at odds around Armstrong Flooring’s understanding that use of the Armstrong title on flooring solutions would transfer to AHF Goods as a part of the sale.

Armstrong Flooring was granted that correct when it was spun off from Armstrong Earth Industries in 2016, but as element of the bankruptcy sale, it experienced to get Armstrong Planet Industries to indication consents that accept that rights to the name will go to AHF Products and solutions.

According to Armstrong Flooring court filings, the initial signal of problems around the consents arrived in late June, and this 7 days Armstrong Flooring filed fit, asking the personal bankruptcy courtroom to power Armstrong Entire world Industries to signal the consents.

In that court docket submitting, Armstrong Flooring had warned that if it could not shut the deal Friday simply because it lacked the created consents, the business would possible confront liquidation as it ran out of cash to proceed working.

Slimmed down Lancaster operation

Although the Armstrong Flooring’s Lancaster County output plant and warehousing functions are anticipated to continue less than AHF Products, lots of of the community staff members of Armstrong Flooring will most likely come across themselves out of do the job.

As of Could, Armstrong Flooring had 606 staff members in Lancaster County, which provided about 390 who had been assigned to the company’s Greenfield headquarters and analysis and design and style center.

Carson explained the corporation strategies to keep 90% of Armstrong Flooring’s present plant workforce, which incorporates the about 200-furthermore workforce at the Dillerville Street plant. Having said that, it will not be making use of Armstrong Flooring’s former Greenfield spots. Some of people personnel may possibly move to AHF Products and solutions headquarters in Mountville, but most will probable lose their employment.

AHF Merchandise did not specify how a lot of previous Armstrong Flooring employees will be a part of AHF Products and solutions, but Carson experienced mentioned lots of of the office environment employees are not required.

Just after Armstrong Environment Industries spun off Armstrong Flooring in 2016 as its individual business, Armstrong Flooring sold its wood flooring company, AHF Solutions, two decades afterwards to non-public fairness organization American Industrial Companions in for $100 million.

Carson expended 16 years at Armstrong Planet Industries prior to leaving in 2006. He returned to Lancaster in 2019 to grow to be the first president and CEO of AHF Products and has guided its swift growth. With no the Armstrong Flooring order, AHF has 13 models, employs extra than 2,300 people and has reported once-a-year revenues of much more than $400 million.

“AHF Items is the previous Armstrong wooden flooring small business and many of our current staff are AWI alums, like me,” Carson stated in the statement issued Friday night. “We are energized to when once more have Armstrong in our family of flooring manufacturers. Armstrong is a wonderful model that is crucial to the flooring sector and to Lancaster County.”


Use of ‘Armstrong’ name threatens $203M sale of Armstrong Flooring 10 a.m. Friday listening to scheduled

Escaping liquidation

Throughout Armstrong Flooring’s bankruptcy, AHF Merchandise was the only competent bidder that preferred to hold areas of the organization heading. Without these a bidder, the company’s property would have been liquidated to pay out creditors.  

This 7 days, the prospect of a liquidation was back on the table as Armstrong Flooring filed a lawsuit towards Armstrong Earth Industries because Armstrong Planet Industries was refusing to sign consents that would permit AHF Goods to use the Armstrong name for its products and solutions.

In its accommodate, Armstrong Flooring warned that if the dispute postponed closing the sale, the postponement would cause the need to have for a liquidation of Armstrong Flooring that would direct to the closure of all its locations crops and decline of all its work. Armstrong Flooring claimed that would take place mainly because it did not have income to proceed its operations past Friday.

Filings by Armstrong Flooring clearly show that Armstrong Environment Industries started to drive back again on offering created consents for AHF Goods to use the Armstrong title on June 28, but Armstrong Globe Industries did not file any documents in courtroom right until just just before Friday morning’s hearing. In its transient, Armstrong World Industries argued that because its prepared consent for use of its emblems was made a issue of sale, it did not need to raise a official objection.

Decide Walrath rejected that declare, expressing the company’s likelihood to item to the consumer applying its trademarks arrived when she specified in her May perhaps 31 “bidding processes order” that the consumer would believe Armstrong Flooring’s contract and licenses.

“By failing to item to the assumption and assigning of the license settlement, AWI are deemed to have consented,” Walrath explained at the conclusion of Friday’s listening to. “The law is clear that any bash can be considered to have consented in the experience of a court docket buy demanding it to get motion.”

Walrath also turned down a ask for for a remain of the ruling built by Daniel Fliman, an lawyer representing Armstrong Planet Industries, who claimed the enterprise would be desirable the choice.

But programs to enchantment the ruling affecting AHF Product’s use of the name experienced been dropped by Friday night when the joint statement was issued that incorporated opinions from Armstrong Earth Industries President and CEO Vic Grizzle.

“We have been doing work with AHF behind the scenes to transfer the Armstrong brand license for the reason that we each have the exact same goals, the preservation of employment and the expansion of our providers and communities,” Grizzle claimed. “At AWI, we are joyful for the former AFI workers, specially in Lancaster, and wish them a great deal accomplishment in just the AHF spouse and children. We rely on the addition of this brand will support the ongoing success of AHF in the flooring industry.”


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