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Northwest Pipe reverses recent, sagging fortunes
When Northwest Pipe and Casing Inc. entered Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings in December, it owed about $9 million to creditors--making it one of the largest bankruptcies in the city.
The company hadn't had a profitable year since 1981, and its relations with its primary financier--Idaho First National Bank--were frigid at best.
Today, the north Portland pipe manufacturer's fortunes seem to have taken a 180-degree turn to the better. New management has convinced Idaho First National to refinance the operation. All bills received after Dec. 3 have been paid. And the firm enjoyed its best January and February in the history of the company, officials said.
Today, as company management assembles a reorganization plan, it seems a good bet, said Paul Brown Jr., the firm's vice president for finance, that Northwest Pipe and Casing may be among the 5 percent of firms that survive a Chapter 11 reorganization.
"We're a long way from being a healthy company,' Brown said, "but I think we've made some significant steps forward.'
Brown, hired last November, and President William Tagmyer, hired in January, were brought on board specifically to salvage the faltering company.
As the numbers showed, the two had their work cut out for them.
Northwest Pipe recorded annual losses ranging from just under $1 million to more than $2 million in the years 1982-84. Annual revenues rose in those years over a range of approximately $20 million to $25 million, Brown said. The firm's last profitable year was 1981.
A number of factors led to the filing in bankruptcy court. First and foremost, company officials said, were slow sales, the resulting uneven cash flow and less-than-ideal relations with Idaho First National.
"We filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy primarily because of problems in getting advances on accounts receivable,' said former Northwest Pipe attorney Steven …