Fleming Seeks Alternate Financing, Requests Extension to File '02 Financials

NEW YORK - Fleming Cos. is reportedly talking to vendors about "near-term liquidity constraints" while it seeks alternative financing which, if it does not receive, may cause uncertainty about its ability to do business, Reuters reports.

The Lewisville, Texas-based wholesale distributor, whose business has suffered since losing its key but bankrupt customer, Kmart Corp., said it will request from the Securities & Exchange Commission a 15-day extension to files its Form 10-K annual report for fiscal 2002 due March 28. The company said the extension is necessary to "properly account for and assess the significant business changes affecting the company."

Fleming's interim president and c.e.o. Peter Willmott said: "Our management and associates are committed to working closely with our vendors to meet the continuing needs of our mutual retail customers."

Fleming said while its internal assessment is ongoing, it is likely that it will restate certain aspects of its financial statements and related disclosures. The company also said it completed the sale of three of its retail stores in the Salt Lake City market and two of its retail stores in the El Paso, Texas market to Albertsons Inc. While financial terms were not disclosed, Fleming said in February that it expected to net some $12 million from the sale of six of its stores, including the five sold to Albertsons.

Separately, the company received $37 million in cash payments from the settlement of its pre-petition and post-petition disputes with Kmart.
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