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Anderson racino emerges from bankruptcy

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The parent company of Anderson racetrack and casino Hoosier Park has officially emerged from bankruptcy.

A newly structured company, Indianapolis-based Centaur Holdings LLC, has taken over ownership from parent Centaur Inc.

The court approved Centaur’s original reorganization plan in February, but several steps had to take place before the plan went into effect, said John Keeler, Centaur’s general counsel.

Chief among them was approval of transferring the gambling license and racing permit from the old to the new Hoosier Park. The Indiana Gaming Commission approved that move last month and the Indiana Horseracing Commission approved it late last week, making it effective on Oct. 1.

The original shareholders of Centaur Inc., about 80 individual Indiana investors, lost their entire investment in the company. Under the new structure, Centaur’s four principals — CEO Rod Ratcliff, Chief Financial Officer Kurt Wilson, Chief Operating Officer Jim Brown and Keeler — are the company’s main equity holders.

The company’s five directors will include Ratcliffe, Brown and three representatives for the major debt-holders in the new company, all of whom will own one share each in the new firm.

The first-lien creditors in the old Centaur will take on holdings of the three tiers of debt in the new Centaur, proportionate to their debt holdings in the original company. That debt totals $273 million, about a third of the $906 million debt load when Centaur filed for bankruptcy in March 2010.

Clairvest, a Canadian-based private equity management firm, and other funds managed by the company, as well as investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, hold a majority of debt in the new Centaur.

Centaur has sold off gambling properties in Colorado and Pennsylvania as part of the bankruptcy settlement. Its holdings now include the Anderson racetrack and casino and three off-track betting sites in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Merrillville.

Keeler said the public likely will not notice a change under new ownership.

“During bankruptcy, Hoosier Park has continued to put out the same quality product — they haven’t laid off any employees,” Keeler said. “At the end of this bankruptcy process, Centaur is still an Indianapolis-based company — with Indianapolis-based and experienced management.”

Hoosier Park, like its racino counterpart Indiana Live in Shelbyville, has struggled under massive debt loads since borrowing heavily to pay $250 million in state licensing fees to add slot machines and other electronic games in 2008. That expense has been labeled as a key contributing factor in Centaur’s bankruptcy.

Indiana Live filed for bankruptcy in April and remains in bankruptcy proceedings.

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