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EXIDE VERNON BREAKING NEWS: Judge to review order shielding Exide lead smelter from shutdown by regulators

DOW JONES DAILY BANKRUPTCY REVIEW

Judge to Review Order Shielding Exide Plant From Regulators

 

Last update: 9/24/2013 4:53:37 PM

By Peg Brickley
The California judge who earlier this year barred state environmental authorities from shutting down an Exide Technologies (XIDEQ) battery plant has signaled he’s ready to reconsider his decision. Judge Luis A. Lavin of the California Superior Court in Los Angeles issued an order to show cause requiring Exide to appear before him in October if it wants to keep the injunction in place that’s preventing state regulators from shutting the Vernon plant. An attorney for Exide declined comment Monday on the threat by the judge to lift the injunction that is keeping the plant open.

 

According to Judge Lavin’s order, Exide can hold on to the injunction if it demonstrates it complied with agreements to reinforce safeguards against contamination at the plant and is moving forward with an administrative proceeding testing the validity of California’s shutdown order. Exide’s Vernon plant is a key component of the lead acid battery maker and recycler’s business, providing cheap raw materials. The April 24 shutdown order from California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control threatened to eat some $24 million out of Exide’s earnings, the company said. The Vernon plant closure exacerbated the financial trouble that pushed Exide into bankruptcy in June. Judge Lavin’s July order enjoining California from enforcing its decree heartened creditors of the company, which is trying to revamp its balance sheet under the protection of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Exide’s most recent financial report to the bankruptcy court says the company had more than $932 million worth of liabilities that are subject to compromise as of the end of August.

(Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review covers news about distressed companies and those under bankruptcy protection. Go to http://dbr.dowjones.com) Write to Peg Brickley at peg.brickley@wsj.com)

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