EAST RUTHERFORD, February 14—The MWW Group is handling restructuring communications for Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. This is the second major bankruptcy assignment for MWW this year; the other was also in the metals industry, for Bethlehem Steel.
MWW chief executive Michael Kempner says his firm was retained six months ago to help communicate the company’s restructuring strategy, although at the time it was not clear the firm would be pursuing a Chapter 11 strategy. He says the assignment includes communications with multiple stakeholders including investors, employees, bond holders, communities, suppliers and vendors, and that the account is being led by Kempner and Carreen Winters, head of the firm’s corporate practice.
Kaiser, North America’s third largest aluminum producer, was laid low by a heavy debt load and low aluminum prices. But the company has secured $300 million in financing from Bank of America to ensure ongoing operations.
Says Kempner, “It’s very important in Chapter 11 that people understand you are not going out of business. “Bankruptcy spreads considerable fear among employees and consumers, who worry whether you will be able to deliver the products and services they need. It’s important to communicate there’s a plan in place and the right management to execute it.”
Kempner says MWW has handled between 30 and 40 bankruptcy PR programs in recent years.