Lyondell plan confirmed, exit from US bankruptcy imminent

23 April 2010 22:38  [Source: ICIS news]

A Lyondell plantHOUSTON (ICIS news)--A US bankruptcy court confirmed on Friday LyondellBasell's reorganisation plan, a development that could get the chemical major out of bankruptcy protection by 30 April and on the New York Stock Exchange by the third quarter of this year, the company said. 

The court confirmation kicked off a series of events called for by the company's reorganisation plan, a blueprint for LyondellBasell's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The plan incorporated several settlements with creditors and environmental regulators.

A key part of that plan was a court-approved equity offering, under which Lyondell would convert about $18bn (€14bn) of senior and bridge-loan debt into class A shares in the company.

Upon exiting bankruptcy protection, Lyondell expected to have roughly $7.2bn of total consolidated debt, the company said. In addition, LyondellBasell should have about $2bn of cash and about $2.4bn of lending commitments.

The reorganisation also created a new parent holding company, LyondellBasell Industries, incorporated in the Netherlands. The company's corporate seat would be in Rotterdam, LyondellBasell said, with administrative offices in Rotterdam and Houston.

The company's stock should be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in the third quarter, LyondellBasell said. In all, LyondellBasell said it expected to issue 563.9m shares of common stock.

“We are extremely proud to announce that in the short period of 15 months, LyondellBasell is poised to exit from Chapter 11,” according to a statement by Jim Gallogly, LyondellBasell’s CEO. “Through this reorganisation we have solidly positioned the company to be an industry leader with a significantly improved balance sheet, excellent liquidity, a more efficient organisational structure and a new management team.”

LyondellBasell is the world's third largest independent chemical company, with 2009 sales of $30.8bn. The company operates out of 59 sites in 18 countries, including joint ventures.

LyondellBasell was created in December 2007 with the merger of Lyondell Chemical and Basell. The deal created the world's largest producer of polyolefins and propylene oxide (PO).

Roughly a year later, Lyondell filed for US bankruptcy protection in January 2009, having consolidated debt of roughly $24bn. After Texaco, it was the largest chemical bankruptcy in US history.

Since filing for bankruptcy protection, Lyondell was under much pressure to reorganise as quickly as possible.

Lyondell estimated that each month in Chapter 11 cost the company $50m.

Longer term, an extended stay in bankruptcy could damage Lyondell's reputation as customers, vendors and employees could gradually lose confidence.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Al Greenwood
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