UpdateLyondell to settle with US, state regulators for $1.35bn

31 March 2010 22:13  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds details paragraph 5, adds paragraphs 7, 10-12)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--LyondellBasell was seeking a $1.35bn (€1.01bn) environmental settlement with US and state environmental regulators in bankruptcy court.

The settlement offer, filed on Tuesday in federal bankruptcy court, stemmed from contamination of several LyondellBasell sites.

Neither the company nor a US regulator had an immediate comment on Wednesday.

The US operations of LyondellBasell filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in 2009.

Earlier in the bankruptcy process, state and federal regulators had filled several claims against the company seeking roughly $5.5bn, the company said.

Under the settlement, Lyondell would allow the regulators to have $1.18bn in unsecured claims. The amount recovered under the claims would be established during the bankruptcy process. 

In general, creditors recover only a portion of their unsecured claims.

Lyondell would also establish a trust that would own several pieces of contaminated property. The trust would receive $108.4m from Lyondell, which would go towards cleaning up the land.

In addition, the company would pay $61.6m to settle allegations made by the US and by regulators in California.

Broken down, the $61.6m total was made up of a $53.6m payment to US regulators and an $8m payment to California regulators.

The total size of the settlement came to $1.35bn, including the $1.18bn in unsecured claims, the $108m given to the trust and the $61.6m payment.

The money would pay to clean up at least 15 sites in eight states, based on a statement by the US Attorney's Office.

Some regulators could receive more money if Lyondell receives proceeds from pending insurance claims.

A hearing for the settlement was scheduled for 23 April.

On the same day, the court was scheduled to confirm Lyondell's reorganisation plan. Lyondell could leave bankruptcy after the court confirms its plan.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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