Flat-panel display processor 3S International has closed its operations in Illinois and Michigan and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with hopes of reorganizing the company.
In a statement sent to E-Scrap News, CEO Joe Yob said bankruptcy will “allow 3S to strategically reposition the company to better meet the current and future needs for the recycling of panel displays and other mercury-containing electronics.”
Operations at the company’s two locations, in Taylor, Mich. and Tinley Park, Ill., have been “temporarily suspended” since July 31, Yob confirmed. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 6, court records show.
The full statement from Yob on behalf of 3S can be read here.
The Michigan-based company, which was started by Yob, has positioned itself primarily as a processor of mercury-containing flat-panel display TVs and computer monitors. It owns three automated shredding systems manufactured by Switzerland-based Blubox Trading, and the bankruptcy filing shows 3S still owes at least $500,000 to Blubox for the machinery.
Roger Burri, Blubox CEO, told E-Scrap News 3S owes the company “more than $500,000.”
“As far as we know, 3S had great plans to cover the North American e-scrap market with its services,” Burri stated. “We really do not know why the company filed for Chapter 11. I guess the American market for mercury-containing e-scrap is not ready yet.”
He confirmed 3S has purchased three individual Blubox shredding systems from the company.
Though CRT TVs and monitors continue to dominate U.S. residential e-scrap streams by weight, many within the industry expect volumes of mercury-containing flat-panels to grow in the near future and pose processing challenges.
The website for 3S suggests “the problem is poised to be even greater” than what the industry has faced in handling CRT devices. Earlier this year, 3S announced a partnership with IMS Electronics Recycling and Kuusakoski Recycling, among others, to provide flat-panel display processing services.
While the bankruptcy filing does not go into detail about the circumstances surrounding the financial troubles of 3S, it estimates company liabilities of $10 million to $50 million and assets of $1 million to $10 million. Beyond Blubox, 3S is listed as owing 19 other creditors a combined $1.1 million, including rent and pay for temporary employees hired through an agency. All told, the company is listed as having between 50 and 99 creditors.
The bankruptcy filing also shows the company is disputing $70,000 in “overtime back wages and alleged liquidated double damages” claimed by a former employee.