Indiana Limestone wins court approval for auction

The owner of Indiana Limestone Co. has received court approval to hold an April auction to see whether there are any better offers for virtually all its assets than the $26 million bid by lender Indiana Commercial Finance LLC.

Indiana Limestone notified the state in late February that it planned to close operations in Bloomington and nearby Oolitic in late April and early May, putting 166 employees out of work.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi on Thursday granted Victor Oolitic Stone Co., which owns the company with roots dating back more than 110 years, approval of guidelines governing the sale process, according to court documents filed March 13 in Wilmington, Del. The company also obtained approval to borrow as much as $3.5 million from Indiana Finance.

Indiana Finance will serve as the stalking-horse, or lead, bidder at an April 14 auction, setting the floor for other potential buyers to beat, according to court papers. The lender is making a credit bid, offering to forgive debt, instead of putting up cash.

Bids to compete in the auction must be submitted by April 11. The company will seek court approval to sell the assets to the auction winner at an April 16 hearing.
Indiana Limestone owns 10 quarries spanning more than 4,000 acres and containing more than 100 years of limestone reserves, making it the “largest dimensional Indiana limestone quarries and fabricators in North America,” according to court documents.

The company bought the original Victor Oolitic Stone, founded in 1897, in a 2009 bankruptcy sale, according to court filings. The company then bought Indiana Limestone, which was formed in 1924 through the merger of 24 corporations, in 2010 to create the company as it is now.

Indiana Limestone’s products have been used to construct some of the most famous works of architecture in the U.S., including the Empire State Building, the Pentagon and 35 of the 50 state capitol buildings, according to its website.

Victor Oolitic filed for bankruptcy protection Feb. 17 listing more than $50 million in assets and debt, according to Chapter 11 court documents.

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