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NPA Files For Bankruptcy

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The Natural Products Association (NPA), which said it is the largest and oldest U.S. nonprofit dedicated to the natural products industry, filed for bankruptcy protection on August 19, citing six straight years of losses and a costly arbitration with a former chief financial officer.

CEO and President Daniel Fabricant, PhD said in a filing with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, DE that the Chapter 11 case will provide a “breathing spell” for the Washington, D.C.-based trade group to focus on advocacy and adding members.

Founded in 1936, the nonprofit said it has more than 1,000 members which account for more than 10,000 retail, manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution locations for natural foods, dietary supplements, and health and beauty aids.

In a statement to Vitamin Retailer, the NPA said that “after exploring a number of alternatives, the Board of Directors of the Natural Products Association has made the strategic decision to file a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in order to effectuate a financial restructuring of the organization. Our Board concluded that this was the best and most expeditious way to proceed and to ensure that NPA goes forward as a stronger and more financially sound organization.

“The filing is expected to have no impact on day-to-day operations and the important work the NPA pursues on behalf of its over 1,000 members. We are proud to be the oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to the natural products industry and it will be business as usual as we proceed through the financial restructuring, with no changes to our activities, initiatives or interaction with members and government officials.

“The decision to financially restructure through a Chapter 11 filing was driven largely by recent operational deficits at the NPA and the organization’s involvement in an arbitration action. The NPA expects to quickly emerge from this process and continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of the retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors it represents across the food, dietary supplement and health/beauty aid sectors.

“NPA had a successful first day in court and is looking forward to moving quickly through the financial restructuring process. Going forward it will be business as usual as we focus on the needs of our members and advocating for the interests of the natural products sector.”

According to the bankruptcy petition, former Chief Financial Officer Brent Weickert holds the largest unsecured claim, a disputed $780,179 arbitration award. A lawyer for Weickert did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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