By DAN WHEAT
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Attorneys for Truitt Brothers Inc. and Del Monte were scheduled to debate competing bids to acquire Snokist in U.S. District Court in Yakima today.
Truitt Brothers of Salem, Ore., bid $42.25 million for Snokist, a pear and apple processor in Yakima, that filed for bankruptcy in December.
San Francisco-based Del Monte teamed with Pacific Coast Producers of Modesto, Calif., to submit a bid they claim is $42.45 million, said Peter Truitt, president of Truitt Brothers.
"Del Monte is bidding on the fixed assets and PCP is bidding on the inventory. We dispute their value of the inventory," Truitt said. "That's where the debate will take place."
Snokist's board approved a purchase agreement with Truitt Brothers and has filed a court motion claiming the Del Monte-PCP bid is not qualified, Truitt said.
A third potential bidder, National Fruit Product Co., Winchester, Va., also is opposing the Del Monte-PCP bid but has not bid, Truitt said.
The court may not render a decision until next week, he said.
Snokist, a grower-owned cooperative, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Dec. 7, blaming delayed clearance of food safety concerns by the Food and Drug Administration and a new lender's reluctance to cover losses.
Last June, Truitt Brothers closed the pear processing portion of its facilities in Salem and entered a one-year agreement to have Del Monte process its pears in Yakima.