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Chapter 11 and Asbestos

     

Emerged from Bankruptcy

 

On February 3, 2014, Grace emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after nearly 13 years.

Voluntary Bankruptcy

On April 2, 2001, Grace voluntarily filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to resolve thousands of asbestos-related claims.

Though Grace was financially strong at the time, the company’s Board of Directors determined that a federal court-supervised reorganization offered the best available forum to achieve a fair and comprehensive resolution of a sharply increasing number of asbestos-related claims while preserving the inherent value of the business.

During the course of the bankruptcy, the company was subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. All transactions outside the ordinary course of business were subject to approval by the court. With the support of the court, the equity committee, and the creditors committees, the company continued to grow, invest, and develop its global business operations.

Asbestos Claims

The company’s asbestos liabilities largely stemmed from chrysotile asbestos that Grace commercially purchased and added to some of its fire protection and plaster products.

When it filed under Chapter 11, the company faced in excess of 129,000 personal injury claims, including 120 related to the Grace’s former vermiculite mining operations in Libby, Montana.

Settlement Reached in 2008; Independent Trusts Created

In 2008, Grace reached a settlement of the personal injury claims with the Official Committee of Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants, the Future Claimants Representative, and the Official Committee of Equity Security Holders.

On September 19, 2008, Grace, with the other parties to the settlement now co-proponents, filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization, later amended, with the Bankruptcy Court, reflecting the terms of the settlement.

Under the Joint Plan, all pending and future asbestos-related claims are channeled to two independent trusts established to compensate asbestos personal injury claimants and property owners. The Joint Plan also directed all allowed claims of non-asbestos creditors to be paid in full on the date of Grace’s emergence from Chapter 11.

Joint Plan Approval

On January 31, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Joint Plan and overruled all outstanding objections in favor of Grace and its co-proponents.

The Joint Plan next was considered for confirmation by the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. On January 31, 2012, the District Court denied all appeals and issued an order affirming the Joint Plan, which was reaffirmed on June 11, 2012 following a motion for reconsideration. By late 2013, all appeals of the Plan’s confirmation were resolved in Grace’s favor by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals or by mutual consent.

On February 3, 2014, the Joint Plan of Reorganization became effective, ending the Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Contacting the Independent Asbestos Claims Trusts

All parties pursuing asbestos-related claims should direct their inquiry to the appropriate independent trust.

For asbestos personal injury claims:

     WRG Asbestos PI Trust
     www.wrgraceasbestostrust.com
     800.708.8925


For Zonolite Attic Insulation claims:

     Zonolite Attic Insulation Trust
    www.zonoliteatticinsulation.com
    844.924.2255
    info@zaitrust.com


For asbestos property damage claims other than for Zonolite Attic Insulation:

    Richard B. Schiro, Trustee
    Law Offices of Richard B. Schiro
    2706 Fairmount Street
    Dallas, Texas  75201-1958