• Suprema Specialties files for bankruptcy

    Tags: Cheese

Suprema Specialties, a supplier of Italian cheeses to the pizza industry, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company, headquartered in Paterson, New Jersey, is under investigation for misrepresenting its financial condition to investors. On Feb. 19, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of investors who purchased Suprema stock between Aug. 8 and Dec. 21, 2001.

On Dec. 24, Suprema was told by NASDAQ that it would no longer allow trading of its stock until its financial matters were settled. In late February, NASDAQ told the company its common stock will be delisted on March 1.

Deloitte & Touche, which is conducting an audit of Suprema's books, hired Nightingale & Associates, LLC, to assist with reorganizing the company. Nightingale's Douglas Hopkins has stepped in as CEO and chief restructuring officer and replaced Suprema president and CEO, Mark Cocchiola. Hopkins is expected to remain in that position at least through the company's reorganization and investigation; Cocchiola will stay close at hand as board chairman and a full-time consultant.

In February government agents removed company records from Suprema's offices, and the company's own independent auditors resigned from the account.

Suprema's change of course no doubt has surprised many who thought its star was on the rise. Last year, it was touted as one of Fortune's top-100 fastest-growing companies, and was listed in Forbes' top 200 best small companies in the U.S.

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