The parent company of chemical manufacturer BioLab has agreed to a settlement stemming from a fire seven years ago at a warehouse in Georgia.
Under terms of the deal, Chemtura Corp. will place $7 million in a
fund to be made available to residents, property owners and
businesses that were impacted by the blaze, which produced a
chemical cloud and closed local highways.
A federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan approved the deal on Jan.
25; Chemtura had filed for Chapter 11 protection there in March
“The settlement is the product of extensive
arm’s-length negotiations occurring over many years,”
according to a written statement from Craig Bruens, an
attorney at Kirkland & Ellis in New York who has served as
restructuring counsel for Chemtura.
“The proposed class-action settlement … will resolve
substantially all remaining claims relating to the 2004 Conyers,
Ga., warehouse fire that occurred at BioLab’s
Indeed, it’s not uncommon for businesses to seek resolution
of outstanding claims while under bankruptcy protection. And in
fact, the Georgia case was just one in a series of claims made by
state and federal authorities over sites owned by Chemtura, Bruens
The company came out of Chapter 11 protection in early November,
and a day later its shares were once
again trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, Bruens
Still, Chemtura’s emergence from bankruptcy wasn’t
without contention. In the months beforehand, shareholders argued
that the company’s reorganization plan had undervalued its
worth. (A greater valuation would have given equity holders a
But a bankruptcy judge in October ultimately dismissed those
assertions and upheld Chemtura’s plan.
As for BioLab, it’s been largely business as usual, said
Charlie Schobel, vice president and general manager. The company
has benefited from a strong aftermarket despite a slowdown in new
construction, added Schobel, who was equally optimistic over a
recent dealer meeting in Washington, D.C., that drew some 650
“We could very well have seen the bottom,” he said.
“Builders today are reporting more interest and