WR Grace, one of the longest corporate bankruptcies in US history, said it had settled the final remaining appeal to its bankruptcy plan, clearing the way for the US chemicals company to emerge from 12 years of Chapter 11 protection.
The Maryland-based company filed for bankruptcy in 2001 under a wave of asbestos-related lawsuits. As of its April 2001 filing date, WR Grace was a defendant in over 65,000 asbestos-related suits involving nearly 130,000 people.
The company will pay a group of bank lenders $129m plus interest from the end of this year, in addition to the $971m already agreed during its reorganisation plan, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The lenders had appealed because they said they were entitled to a higher interest rate.
The company said it expected to emerge from bankruptcy on January 31, pending bankruptcy court approval.
WR Grace shares rose more than 4 per cent to $98.68, giving the company a market capitalisation of nearly $7.6bn. The shares are trading close to their 52-week high of $101.72.
The company’s restructuring has been held up by a number of appeals and challenges from creditors and litigants. Under a 2011 plan, WR Grace will fund a trust to pay people who contracted lung disease as a result of exposure to asbestos.
WR Grace was not alone in falling to asbestos-related claims. Major building materials makers including Owens Corning and USG Corp, among others, also filed for bankruptcy under the weight of asbestos litigation.
In a statement, John Bader, head of Halcyon Asset Management, the company’s largest single creditor, said: “We are extremely pleased to have helped make this final settlement possible, and we recognise that the ability of WR Grace to emerge from bankruptcy benefits everyone with a stake in the company’s future.”
In its latest quarterly report, the company lists over $2bn in asbestos-related contingencies on its consolidated balance sheet, based on the lawsuits pending before its 2001 bankruptcy filing.
The company said it believes that a “substantial number” of additional claims would have been received in the 12 years since had such claims not been stayed by the bankruptcy court.
The company spent $12.4m in legal and financial advisory fees in the first nine months of 2013, compared to $13.2m during the same period last year.
Get alerts on SEC when a new story is published