UPDATE 1-U.S. district court approves W.R. Grace's reorganization plan

Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:52am EST

Jan 31 (Reuters) - W. R. Grace & Co said its reorganization plan has been approved by the U.S. district court of Delaware, clearing a major hurdle for the chemical and building products maker to emerge from its decade-long bankruptcy protection.

Grace filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2001, weighed down by asbestos-related claims. A bankruptcy court confirmed its reorganization plan exactly a year ago.

The reorganization plan calls for setting up two asbestos trusts to compensate personal injury claimants and property owners, Grace said in a statement on Tuesday.

Funds for the trust will come from a variety of sources including cash, warrants to purchase common stock, insurance proceeds, among others and will cover all current and future asbestos claims, the company said.

"I am optimistic that the legal process related to our Joint Plan is coming to an end and we can emerge in the near future," said Chief Executive Fred Fest.

The timing of the company's emergence from bankruptcy depends on a number of factors, including whether there are further appeals to the reorganization plan, whether conditions to payments from third parties can be satisfied or waived, among others.

The case is In re: W.R. Grace & Co, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No:11-00199 and W.R. Grace & Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 01-01139.