US’ WR Grace reaches deal to proceed with reorganisation plan

01 February 2012 03:26  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--WR Grace said late on Tuesday that it has reached settlement with parties opposed to its reorganisation plan, moving the company closer to emerging from more than a decade-long bankruptcy.

The US-based specialty chemicals and catalyst producer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2001 because of asbestos damage claims. The company's joint plan establishes two asbestos trusts to compensate personal injury claimants and property owners.

The agreements in principle was reached between WR Grace, its co-proponents of the joint plan of reorganisation, BNSF railroad, several insurance companies and the representatives of Libby asbestos personal injury claimants, the firm said in a statement.

“Pursuant to the agreements, the objections to the joint plan by the Libby claimants and BNSF would be settled, and those parties would forego any further appeals to the plan,” it said.

Among the items covered in the agreements is a requirement for WR Grace to turn its Libby Medical Program over to a locally administered trust, and to fund the trust with $19.5m (€15m).

WR Grace began the Libby Medical Program in 2000 and has spent more than $20m on the health care of the participants over the last 11 years.

“Once the trust assumes responsibility for the Libby Medical Program, Grace will no longer have any operational, funding, or other responsibility for the program,” it said.

The agreements in principle are subject to execution of definitive agreements and approval by the US bankruptcy court.

A US District Court on Tuesday confirmed the building materials manufacturer's reorganisation plan and denied all objections.

“Coupled with today’s District Court decision affirming our plan of reorganisation, we are moving closer to emergence,” said Fred Festa, chairman and CEO of WR Grace.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Nurluqman Suratman

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