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Mississippi Phosphate files Chapter 11; no layoffs yet

image004PASCAGOULA – Mississippi Phosphate’s 241-member workforce remains intact after the longtime fertilizer company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Gulfport Monday.
A shortage of raw materials led the fertilizer manufacturer to curtail production of diammonium phosphate at its 40-acre plant late last week. But the company kept most of its production going, it said in a press statement.
This is not the company’s first rough patch. It came out of bankruptcy in 2004. Formerly part of Yazoo-City-based Mississippi Chemical Corp., the company has been operating at the Port of Pascagoula since 1958.
Production continuing at the plant includes sulfuric acid operations, ammonia terminal operations, dock and port operations and all environmental systems operations, said Mississippi Phosphates, which recently moved its Madison operations to Pascagoula as part of a consolidation.
Mississippi Phosphates, a subsidiary of publicly held Phosphate Holdings Inc., wants relief from about $20 million in unsecured debt to buy time to secure additional credit, the company said in its press statement. The new credit would go toward satisfying the company’s “ongoing post-filing operational obligations,” the statement said.
“We expect that through this filing, we can gain needed relief, secure an updated credit and funding facility and return to production operations in an expedited manner,” said Stephen S. Russo, CEO. “In addition to resuming operations, our plans call for the company to continue maintenance and all environmental and safety programs during this reorganization.”
Russo took over as CEO in mid August, replacing interim CEO James Sherbert, who took the interim post upon the retirement of Robert E. Jones in early July.

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