As a virtual Delaware bankruptcy court sale hearing of Armstrong Flooring Inc. neared its conclusion, Judge Mary Walrath asked the audience of 160 some screens if anyone wished to be heard.
A person watching the hearing on Zoom raised a yellow virtual hand. Typically, people aren’t allowed to address the judge from the gallery. Throughout the bankruptcy proceedings only lawyers formally admitted to the court had spoken.
The screen was dark, save for his name, Brian Maida. Court records give no other identifying information.
The judge addressed him by name and allowed him to speak.
He apologized for not knowing the court process and identified himself as a “common shareholder” and asked where shareholders of Armstrong Flooring stood in the bankruptcy.
He didn’t get an answer in court but the judge suggested that someone from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, the counsel for Armstrong Flooring, reach out to Maida. They arranged to share contact information.
The fact that wasn’t spoken in the courtroom but key people understood is Armstrong Flooring’s shareholders will likely not see a penny.
“The company expects there will be no recoveries for holders of equity,” Armstrong Flooring confirmed in an email to LNP | LancasterOnline.
The company confirmed the attorneys did inform Maida that shareholders would receive no equity.
There were more than 21 million shares of Armstrong Flooring stock as of February, according to the company's May 2 annual report.
The sale price of the whole company, which had traded on the New York Stock Exchange as AFI, is $190 million, much less than its stated debts of $318 million but enough to pay its long-term lenders, Pathlight Capital and Bank of America, N.A. It is still awaiting court approval of its wind-down financing.
Armstrong Flooring was delisted from NYSE in May a few weeks after it sought Chapter 11 protection. The company said it would not challenge the delisting.
But Armstrong Flooring stock fans continued to trade the stock through an over-the-counter network where stocks that are not listed on a major exchange in the United States are instead traded through brokers.
And commentary about the stock has been lively on the anonymous online chat sites like the Stocktwits website, where traders with handles like OrangeJoolius and Roosterscanfly speculated on theories of how the stock could be bought and its value revived.
As recently as earlier this week as many as 110,000 shares were changing hands on a given day.
Thursday the stock closed at 5 cents a share but had traded as high as 7 cents and as low as 4 cents, according to Google Finance. The AFI stock once traded as high as $19.06 a share in September 2018.