US WR Grace to remain in bankruptcy protection through 2011

25 October 2011 21:39  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based catalyst producer WR Grace expects to remain in bankruptcy protection through this year, as it waits for a district court ruling, the chief executive said on Tuesday.

"We continue to remain highly confident that the court will rule in our favour on all matters," said chief executive Fred Festa during an earnings conference call.

"We just don't know when it will come," he said. "Our only real course at this point is to wait on the district court ruling."

He added, "It is important to remember that the bankruptcy does not impact the way we run our business."

In fact, WR Grace had earlier participated in an auction for an acquisition.

Although WR Grace was not successful ­– the business was apparently taken off the market ­– the company still had no problems participating in the process, Festa said. "Getting the creditors on board was not an issue."

Already, a bankruptcy court has confirmed the company's reorganisation plan, which provides a road map for how the company will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

WR Grace filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on 2 April 2001. The length of its bankruptcy far exceeded those of Chemtura, LyondellBasell and Solutia.

WR Grace attributed the long bankruptcy to asbestos lawsuits.

At the time of its filing, WR Grace faced 65,656 asbestos lawsuits, which involved 17 property-damage claims and more than 129,000 personal injury claims, the company said.

The reorganisation plan would resolve these claims and lawsuits by establishing trust funds, which will be responsible for handling current and future asbestos claims.

In addition to establishing the trusts, WR Grace would pay the rest of a $44.1m (€31.8m) settlement it reached with the regulators and other groups.

The money would help pay for clean-up costs for several WR Grace sites throughout the US. 

($1 = €0.72)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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