SLI Inc., Canton, Mass., which has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since September 2002, has agreed to sell its General Lighting division to Frank M. Ward, its chairman of the board and chief executive officer.

SLI plans to sell its General Lighting division to Ward for approximately $123 million. In addition, the company would sell its Miniature Lighting division to M Capital LLC, a New York-based private equity fund, for approximately $100 million. Completion of both transactions is subject to the receipt of higher or otherwise better offers, bankruptcy court approval, regulatory approvals and other conditions. Both transactions are expected to be completed in the spring of this year.

A company spokesman said, “We are very pleased to announce the proposed sale of both divisions, which constitute substantially all of our operations. We will continue to work throughout our Chapter 11 proceedings to maximize the interests of customers and suppliers, creditors and other parties in interest without compromising the quality of our products.”

SLI grew aggressively in the lighting market in the late 1990s through a string of acquisitions that helped it evolve from a niche specialist in miniature lamps to a global presence in lamps, fixtures and energy services. SLI moved to establish itself as an integrated lighting manufacturer in 1999 when it bought Supreme Lighting Corp., Mullins, S.C., the oldest and largest family-owned lampmaker in the United States at the time of the acquisition.

Supreme Lighting had carved niches in long-life lamps and rough-service lamps as well as a broad range of general-purpose lighting products. Through a portfolio of lighting companies built up from 1996 to 1999, SLI already had interests in ballasts, specialty lamps, fixtures, long-life lamps and fiber optics.

A press release said the company has been operating under Chapter 11 protection since Sept. 9, 2002, and that while no reorganization plan has been finalized, SLI doesn't believe there will be any recovery for its stockholders.

With 35 plants in 11 countries, SLI manufactures a range of lamps that includes incandescent, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, halogen, miniature incandescent, neon, LED and special lamps and lighting fixtures.