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(Corrects to show the company settled claims, not suits)
NEW YORK, April 30 (Reuters) - Lyondell Chemical Co [ACCELC.UL] said on Friday that it has exited bankruptcy after a 16-month process during which its debt load was reduced to about $5 billion from $24 billion.
The company, which went bankrupt last January after a drop in business due to the economic downturn left it unable to make debt payments, was able to make the move through financial backing from two private equity firms and industrial holding company Access Industries.
Access, owned by financier Len Blavatnik, had taken Lyondell private in 2007. He has bought back into the new company through a $2.8 billion rights offering and will own a small stake alongside Apollo Management [APOLO.UL] and Ares Management.
Lyondell also said it raised $3.25 billion of first priority debt.
The new company, LyondellBasell Industries NV based in the Netherlands, said it expects to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange by the third quarter of this year.
LyondellBasell said it has $5.2 billion in net consolidated debt and about $3 billion in liquid assets.
The move comes after the company fended off a takeover attempt by India's Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.BO) earlier this year. It also settled hundreds of environmental claims. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; editing by Gerald E. McCormick)