Sale of the former Simply Essentials plant in Charles City remains on hold and up in the air.
The hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cedar Rapids was cancelled when trustee, attorney Larry Eide of Mason City, filed a motion for a continuance, according to Court Case Administrator Jen Meier. The main objective of the hearing was to consider the sale of Simply Essentials assets for $9.5 million to International Poultry Breeders (IPB) LLC, which plans to do business in Charles City as The Best Dressed Chicken.
IPB, affiliated with Wincorp International Inc., was the only bidder for the assets during an auction in August, offering $10 million. Pure Prairie Farms, consisting of creditors, farms and farmers that provided chickens to Simply Essentials, originally offered to buy the plant for $9.5 million, but elected not to participate in the auction. IPB then argued successfully that they should be allowed to purchase Simply Essentials at the $9.5 millon price and a hearing to approve the sale was set for September 9.
However, an objection to the sale was filed by Pure Prairie Farms claiming their original offer should be honored. That forced the hearing that was cancelled Tuesday. Since then, IPB has withdrawn it’s offer to buy the plant, muddying the waters of the sale even further.
No new hearing on the sale of the Simply Essentials assets has been set.
The plant has been closed since August 2019, putting some 500 people out of work.