Covington Firms Up Finances

Carole Sloan, October 15, 2007

Decorative fabrics converter Covington Holdings has reached an agreement with its principal lender on a financial restructuring package for the business.

"This brings to an end a very difficult period of uncertainty for all the constituents in our business," said Roger Gilmartin, president and ceo. "The recent financially challenging period has impacted our ability to service our customers the way we traditionally have."

As a result of the new financing, he explained, "We have significant funds dedicated to air-freight already produced goods from our suppliers to bring down backlogs to our traditional levels." The company also will refill the pipeline "to get back to the world-class levels that people expect of Covington."

The company has streamlined its staff, particularly changing the balance in its design studio with more outsourcing of design, he said. The design activities will continue to be under the direction of Christine D'Ascoli, vp, creative services.

In the sales area, Chris Geiger, vp-sales and marketing, resigned from the company earlier this month. He had been there for nearly 10 years and will not be replaced. Senior sales executives who reported to Geiger — Steve Marrandino and Ben Barbosa — will assume most of his responsibilities and report to Gilmartin. The furniture sales staff will report directly to Gilmartin, as will the customer service department head.

At Showtime in December, "We will have a small but trend-right line, because of time constraints. We also will focus on existing product."

"I have been distracted by this challenge," Gilmartin noted. "Now I can get back to running the business." In line with this, Gilmartin will meet personally with customers in the decorative segment of the business as well as furniture manufacturers.

"During the protracted period of this refinancing process, the rumors of our imminent demise emerged on almost a daily basis and we will be forever grateful to the customers, vendors and our associates who continued to have faith in the company and who demonstrated that faith with their unwavering support."

Gilmartin acquired Covington from the Gilmore family in January 2006. Harriette Weiss-Terbell, an original investor, remains in that position, he said.

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