Creditor buys assets of bankrupt Norman technology firm
NORMAN — A Massachusetts-based company had purchased most of the assets of the bankrupt SouthWest Nanotechnologies and has reopened its Norman plant.
The Canton, Mass.-based company Chasm Advanced Materials purchased the bulk of SouthWest's assets in July out of bankruptcy court.
Chasm Advanced Materials is a subsidiary of Chasm Technologies, a consulting firm to nanotech companies that was also one of SouthWest's largest creditors.
The sale's terms were not disclosed, but Chasm Advanced Materials co-founder David Arthur said the company spent "several million dollars" to purchase the assets.
"We do believe we can turn this into a profitable business, but its not going to be easy," Arthur said.
Chasm Technologies had a close business relationship with SouthWest and Arthur was also CEO of SouthWest before the company filed for bankruptcy.
SouthWest Nanotechnologies is also known by the acronym SWeNT. The company produced single-wall carbon nanotubes — tiny, strong particles used to manufacture touch screens and solar lighting products, among other uses. The nanotubes are about a nanometer — one billionth of a meter — wide.
The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in November after it failed to raise enough investment funds to continue operations. In court documents, SouthWest estimated it had about $5 million in assets and $11.7 million in debts.
"When SWeNT filed for bankruptcy it was also very devastating for Chasm Technologies," Arthur said. "This is Chasm's attempt to try and turn this situation around, turning a bad situation into as good as it can be."
Chasm Advanced Materials has obtained a licensing agreement with the University of Oklahoma for nanotube technology developed at OU, and has signed a lease with the Norman Economic Development Coalition to reopen SWeNT's former laboratory near State Highway 9 in Norman.
The Norman Economic Development Coalition has always owned the building.
"Our goal is to see high-tech jobs in the community, and we are hopeful that they are going to be able to make it work," said Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Norman Economic Development Coalition.
Chasm Advanced Materials has rehired three former SWeNT workers in Norman and hopes to hire additional workers in the future.
"We rehired some of the people who worked at SWeNT and we intend to hire more people as we raise more funds," Arthur said.