Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP Bankruptcy Group Helps Sugar Grove, Ill.-Based Provider of Air Ambulatory Services Emerge from Bankruptcy; More Than 100 Local Jobs Saved

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Restructuring plan allows R&M Aviation, Inc. (d/b/a AeroCare Medical Transport System, Inc.) to emerge from bankruptcy process with efficient operations, a strong brand and a much-improved capital structure

One of the most enjoyable parts of my work as a bankruptcy attorney is saving jobs.

As a worldwide provider of fixed-wing air ambulance services, R & M Aviation, Inc. (d/b/a AeroCare Medical Transport System, Inc.) is in the business of saving lives. But the Sugar Grove, Ill.-based company recently needed a rescue of its own in the wake of financial turmoil that forced it into chapter 11 bankruptcy.

That’s where Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP’s financial restructuring and bankruptcy practice group stepped in, helping AeroCare successfully emerge from chapter 11 less than a year after filing for bankruptcy. The financial and operational restructuring not only allowed the do-good company to maintain its core mission of air ambulance and organ procurement services, but it also saved more than 100 jobs in the process.

“I am very humbled by the support we have received from our employees, customers and business partners, as these long-term relationships are very important to the company,” said Joseph D. Cece, AeroCare’s chief executive officer, who offered particular praise for his restructuring counsel, labeling it as the “best of the best” and his “dream team.”

“We went into this against overwhelming odds and we found a way to navigate out of this,” Cece said. “My company and 20 years of my life’s work were saved, and I could never adequately explain how much that means to me.”

Neal Gerber Eisenberg partner Mark A. Berkoff led AeroCare’s restructuring team, with day-to-day management of the case provided by partner Nicholas M. Miller and associate Kevin G. Schneider. Given the nature of his client’s business, Berkoff said he was especially proud to develop a solution to allow his client to continue its services.

“One of the most enjoyable parts of my work as a bankruptcy attorney is saving jobs,” said Berkoff, who estimated his work has helped save more than 50,000 jobs over his 27-year career. “It’s a good feeling to know that the work we’re doing translates into a measurable impact on individuals’ livelihoods. That was particularly true in this case, given the life-saving services that AeroCare has provided to the communities it has served for more than 20 years.”

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved AeroCare’s plan of reorganization on March 12, 2013. The plan is expected to go effective before April 1, 2013. “AeroCare emerges from the bankruptcy process with efficient operations, a strong brand and a much-improved capital structure,” Cece said.

In connection with the plan, AeroCare restructured its $4.4 million senior secured loan with First National Bank of Omaha, successor by merger with Castle Bank, N.A., and its $1.5 million aircraft loan with Fifth Third Bank. Both lenders provided support to AeroCare throughout the chapter 11 process, including with respect to its emergence from bankruptcy under the terms of the now-confirmed plan.

In addition, AeroCare’s pre-petition trade creditors voted overwhelmingly in favor of the plan, with approximately 90 percent in number and dollar amount of all claims that voted having been cast in favor of the plan.

According to Miller, this high level of support “shows the value of the company and the trust creditors have placed in AeroCare’s ultimate success.” Creditors will receive meaningful distributions on account of their claims shortly after the plan’s effective date and continuing over the course of the next two years.

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