August 1, 2011 – Ten years ago W.R. Grace & Co., a Maryland special chemicals and materials company, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to claims of asbestos-related personal injury—such as mesothelioma—and property damage. However, the company announced Tuesday that sales in this year’s second quarter had improved by 20 percent ($862 .4 million) from last year and net income rose by almost 50 percent.
W.R. Grace & Co. appears to be making a strong comeback despite filing for bankruptcy in 2001. At the time of filing, Grace had over 120,000 asbestos-related personal injury claims pending against it. In 2009, Grace filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization which states how the company intends to resolve the pre-petition claims and demands against it. This past January, a bankruptcy court confirmed the plan and a U.S. District Court is currently considering whether to affirm the plan.
As of March 2011, Grace’s total recorded asbestos-related liability was $1.7 billion, but settling all claims may be less expensive if the court agrees with the company’s position on the pending claims. However, claimants contend that the asbestos-related liabilities, which often include mesothelioma, are “substantially higher than $1.7 billion.”