WR Grace: Bankruptcy Judge Approves Chap. 11 Plan

By Beacon Staff

COLUMBIA, Md. – Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. said on Monday that a Delaware bankruptcy judge has confirmed a reorganization plan that includes two asbestos trusts that are intended to have enough assets to cover all current and future asbestos claims.

The company said the plan must also be confirmed by a U.S. District Court judge in Delaware before it can exit bankruptcy protection. W.R. Grace sought bankruptcy protection in April 2001.

The reorganization plan calls for asbestos trusts to be funded from sources including cash, warrants to buy common stock, future payments, and insurance proceeds.

“We recognize that there are a few more steps in the legal process, which we hope will move forward expeditiously,” said Chairman, President, and CEO Fred Festa. “I look forward to Grace emerging from Chapter 11 as a vibrant, growing company with a great future.”

At the time Grace filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, the company said it had been named in 110,000 asbestos personal injury claims.

In the northwestern Montana town of Libby, asbestos contamination from a former W.R. Grace vermiculite mine has been blamed for sickening hundreds of people, some fatally. From 1923 to the early 1990s, millions of tons of the asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore were shipped from the mine near Libby to about 270 processing plants across the United States for use in insulation, fireproofing, gardening and other products.

W.R. Grace shares rose 64 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close Monday at $35.49.

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