Bankrupt Shells moves to liquidate

TAMPA Fla. Less than a month after filing for Chapter 11 reorganization and closing eight of its 23 branches, Shells Seafood Restaurants has asked the bankruptcy judge to convert the action to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Shells said in its filing Wednesday with a U.S. bankruptcy court in Florida that it required a "substantial capital infusion" or a buyer to continue operations, and that "restrictive credit markets" had made efforts to find either unsuccessful.

Shells said it was in the process of closing the remaining 10 units that it owned. The company said in its Chapter 11 filing earlier this month that four branches it managed but did not own were not included in the bankruptcy action, nor was the new Rock Beach Grill prototype in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Calls to Shells units throughout Florida yielded no answers at most locations. Personnel at four branches, three of them confirmed to be franchised units, said they remained open, including a franchised Sarasota branch whose spokesperson said it was opening a second Shells soon in nearby Lakewood Ranch.