MANCHESTER, NH – NH Attorney General Joseph Foster was personally fielding inquiries Tuesday – despite state offices being closed due to the Veterans Day holiday – regarding what the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Fred Fuller Oil & Propane Co. means to customers.
That’s how vital it is for consumers to understand what the implications of bankruptcy are in this case, said Foster. He met with Fuller Monday, the same day the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
In so many words, Foster says customers should keep calm and stay tuned.
“It’s early yet, but they are seeking out a strong financial buyer who will assume obligations of consumers,” Foster said. “Bankruptcy is often used to facilitate a sale, because it provides transparency and allows a potential buyer to have confidence in any liabilities.”
Foster said there are “interested players” and he’s hopeful that will help speed up the sale process and any transition for customers.
“Our role will be to watch the process and make sure any obligations assumed by a new buyer are honored,” Foster said.
He declined to comment on whether Fuller could face any additional legal or criminal charges.
“Right now we’re focused on the sale process and meeting consumer needs,” Foster said.
Bankruptcy is a concerning process and one “the public doesn’t often understand well,” Foster said.
As another New Hampshire winter approaches, with temperatures already dipping into the freezing zone, the most important thing is for people to remain warm and safe in their homes, Foster said.
Customers should not be hitting the panic button at this point.
“That shouldn’t be on consumers’ minds. They shouldn’t assume just because this has happened that their pre-buys are extinguished. Fuller is still in business. It’s not an immediate shutdown or liquidation, and we hope the Chapter 11 filing will lead to a quick sale,” Foster said.
Due to the bankruptcy filing, there is an immediate stay on any pending lawsuits against Fuller, including the suit filed earlier this year by Sprague Energy, seeking $5 million from Fuller for unpaid oil
Sprague will have to seek permission from the court to pursue the suit further, Foster said.
“We’ve been watching Fuller’s operations since last winter, when they had a variety of problems that coincided. We will continue to watch things, and expect this action will bring more transparency to the process,” Foster said.
Hudson-based Fuller Oil is the state’s largest provider of home heating fuel. They have been in business for more than 50 years.
- Fred Fuller Oil Co. files for bankruptcy Nov. 11, 2014
- Fred Fuller in court over millions owed to supplier Oct. 28, 2014
- Lawsuit: More problems for Fred Fuller Oil Co. Sept. 20, 2014
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