After about 75 layoffs, Austin Packaging sold to Bellisio earlier this year. -- Herald file photos
After about 75 layoffs, Austin Packaging sold to Bellisio earlier this year. -- Herald file photos

The countdown: Top local news stories of 2013 (No. 20-11)

Published 9:20am Monday, December 30, 2013

(11) Minneapolis food producer Bellisio buys Austin Packaging Co. for $6.1 million after about 75 are laid off

After eying a local company’s dire financial situation and layoffs, yet seeing potential for growth, a Minneapolis food producer bought the struggling Austin Packaging Company in June for $6.1 million.

Bellisio Foods Inc., which manufactures Michelina’s frozen dinners, products for Boston Market and private-label companies, bought APC with a winning auction bid and assumed about $280,000 of liabilities.

APC avoided bankruptcy when owners Jim Heimark and Jeff Thatcher filed for receivership in April, several weeks after shutting down the frozen pizza department and laying off about 75 employees. An interim manager then helped stabilize finances. At one point, APC had a $2.9 million balance on a line of credit, $1.9 million in unpaid loans, along with trade creditors asserting claims for a total of $5.8 million.

Jeff Tuttle, Bellisio’s senior vice president of new business ventures, mentioned plans for future growth. In December, the Austin Port Authority approved Bellisio Foods’ request to buy out the lease on the building for $681,000.

Look for stories 10-1 on Wednesday.


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