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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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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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