Seegrid files for Chapter 11 protection
Seegrid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week. The bankruptcy judge authorized Seegrid to borrow from its lender and biggest shareholder, Giant Eagle, so that it could continue operations.
Giant Eagle is a $9 billion supermarket and convenience store chain serving Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. It has tested and used Seegrid AGVs in some of its distribution centers. Seegrid expects to receive up to $3 million from a loan from Giant Eagle as bridge financing during the restructuring period.
Seegrid has outstanding debt of more than $45 million and “is virtually, if not totally, out of cash” according to the court papers. Hence the need for an immediate loan and a fast-tracked restructuring agreement. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Seegrid has raised $61.4 million in funding from investors since 2003. The two largest shareholders are Giant Eagle and an investment group led by a former Seegrid CEO. Both parties claim the other has been uncooperative in negotiations to restructure the company.
Seegrid, a 50+ person Pittsburgh area company was founded by two CMU roboticists. They build AGVs used as tow tractors and pallet trucks for material handling. Recently, instead of building their own lifts and tractors, they have begun to provide vision guided navigation systems to AGV and forklift makers such as Yale, Hyster, Linde and Raymond.