Photo of contractor repairing light fixture with Wildfire Inc. logo and bankruptcy tag

Reporting a decrease in gross revenue and over $700,000 in debt to 70 creditors, California lighting manufacturer Wildfire, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief on January 11, 2021. 

As a manufacturer of backlights and specific effect lighting for retail, theme parks, films, television, and live events, Wildfire, Inc. reports being subject to a 55% decrease in gross revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wildfire, Inc. — located 20 miles south of Los Angeles in Torrance, California — is faced with four secured claims worth over $200,000 and 66 unsecured claims tallying over half a million dollars, according to the US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California

Of the 70 creditors named in the bankruptcy filing, 26 are material suppliers.  

In 2019, Wildfire reported $1,584,521 in gross revenue, as stated in the bankruptcy petition. By the end of 2020, the lighting manufacturer posted $716,796.43 in gross revenue. 

According to the California Secretary of State, Wildfire was incorporated in September of 1989. Since then, the company has worked under the names of “Wildfire Lighting” and “VFX Distributing,” according to the bankruptcy filing. 

The manufacturer’s latest Statement of Information filing from September of 2019 with the California Secretary of State lists John Berardi as the president/CEO of Wildfire, Inc. Berardi is also listed in the bankruptcy filing as a creditor with a priority unsecured claim worth $3,000. 

Wildfire, Inc. reports the following totals in their Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition: 

  • $738,105.97 in total liabilities 
  • $1,166,843.80 in total assets 
  • $88,480.84 in total checking 
  • $9,847.18 in accounts receivable 

What is Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy case under the US bankruptcy code is frequently referred to as “reorganization.”

The Chapter 11 filer is tasked with submitting a plan of reorganization, which addresses the debtor’s business affairs, assets, and debts. The debtor is able to attain control of their assets while undergoing the reorganization process. 

Creditors with secured claims are typically paid out first during bankruptcy cases. Unsecured creditors may only receive payment if there is any remaining funds after processing the secured claims. 

Wildfire, Inc. reports 4 secured claims, 66 unsecured claims 

At the time of their bankruptcy filing, Wildfire, Inc. reported having four secured claims worth a combined $204,541.13. 

The largest secured claim is worth $150,000 owed to Chase Bank for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. The SBA is also listed as a creditor with a secured claim totaling $5,000. 

Read more: COVID-19: Contractor Guide to SBA Loans & Cash Options

JP Morgan Chase Bank is owed the second-largest secured claim, valued at $42,700. Vendor finance partner De Lage Landen is also listed with a secured claim for $6,700. 

Additionally, Wildfire, Inc. owes a total of $533,564.84 to 66 creditors with unsecured claims — four priority unsecured claims, 62 nonpriority unsecured claims. 

The four priority claims listed in the petition total $8,353.99, which would be paid out first before nonpriority unsecured claims are addressed. 

Wildfire CEO John Berardi’s $3,000 priority unsecured claim is the largest of the four. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration holds the second-largest priority unsecured claim at $2,884.72. 

Wildfire’s 62 nonpriority unsecured total $525,210.85. 

All 26 material suppliers listed in Wildfire’s Chapter 11 filing hold nonpriority unsecured claims: 

  • 1000 Bulbs – $1,894
  • Arrow Electronics – $6,420.86
  • Bender & Wirth (lighting material supplier) – $1,245.06
  • BLC America – $22,713
  • Century Spring – $2,090
  • Cloud 9 ERP Solutions Acumatica – Unknown 
  • Continental Industries – $4,714
  • Coralvue Vue Technology – $1,700
  • CRF Solutions – $0
  • Echo – Unknown 
  • Electri-Cord Manufacturing – $880
  • Ernest Packaging Solutions – $2,683.79
  • Future Electronics – $3,975.20
  • Hawk Ridge Systems Solidworks – Unknown 
  • Hellend Electronics – $6,186
  • Kingscote Chemical – $798.72
  • Lost Star Graphix – Unknown 
  • Martec360 – Unknown 
  • Marubeni America – 1,266
  • Nichia American Corp. – $33,910.89
  • Pinnacle Precision – $16,549.96
  • Rust-Oleum Corp. – $27,796.65
  • Southern California Edison – Unknown 
  • The Gas Company – Unknown 
  • Thermo Cool – $797
  • United Parcel Service (UPS) – $1,798.99