United States

U.S. Steel Idles Hamilton Coke Making

U.S. Steel is indefinitely idling its coke-making operations in Hamilton as it restructures the company and looks for a potential buyer — part of what a union head calls a piece-by-piece dismantling of the plant, CBC.ca reported. The company is “hot idling” the coke battery, which means it won’t be used after Nov. 1 but will remain prepped for future use. About 100 workers are affected, said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1005. Some will be reassigned to other duties, while others may be laid off.
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LDK Solar Co., the Chinese solar-cell maker that defaulted on its bonds this year, filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. to help carry out restructurings already under way in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, Bloomberg News reported. Xinyu, China-based LDK filed for Chapter 15 protection today in Wilmington, Delaware, listing about $1.13 billion in debt and $510 million in assets as of May 31. Chapter 15 is the section of the bankruptcy code used by foreign companies restructuring abroad to fend off creditors and distribute payments in the U.S.
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The United Steelworkers union has reached a tentative contract agreement with U.S. Steel Canada Inc. that covers workers in Hamilton, marking the first time the steel company has not locked out workers at one of its two major Canadian mills, The Globe and Mail reported. Since the 2007 purchase by United States Steel Corp. of what was then Stelco Inc., the company locked out workers once after failing to reach an agreement covering its Hamilton workers, and twice at its Lake Erie operations in Nanticoke, Ont.
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Stakeholders have approved a controversial but essential step in U.S. Steel Canada Inc.’s bankruptcy protection process, allowing the company to move ahead with a restructuring that could result in the sale of its Canadian operations, the Financial Post reported. After several days of intensive behind-the-scenes negotiations — “virtually 24 hours a day,” according to U.S. Steel Canada lawyer Paul Steep — an agreement was reached Wednesday on a $185-million loan that will allow the company to continue operations during the restructuring process. The loan will come from U.S.
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The Ontario Superior Court has adjourned a hearing on U.S. Steel Canada Inc. under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, The Globe and Mail reported. The hearing has been postponed until Tuesday so lawyers can try to negotiate a deal on debtor-in-possession financing. The key issue is the plan by the steel maker’s parent, United States Steel Corp., to provide $185-million in debtor-in-possession financing for the Canadian unit. That plan is opposed by the Ontario government and the United Steelworkers union, which argue that it gives U.S.
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Property developer Seán Dunne would be allowed to “further manipulate assets” and frustrate the efforts of his creditors if he is allowed to withdraw his US bankruptcy case, Ulster Bank has told a US court, the Irish Times reported. Objecting to Mr Dunne’s application to dismiss his case before Connecticut’s bankruptcy court, Ulster Bank, one of the US-based developer’s biggest creditors, said in a new legal filing that the investigation into his finances would be “substantially hampered” if the court granted his motion to dismiss.
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A U.S. judge held Argentina in contempt of court on Monday, saying the republic was trying to find ways to circumvent a prior order requiring it pay holdout bondholders at the same time as other creditors who restructured their debt in recent years, Reuters reported. U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan deferred a decision on imposing sanctions against Argentina to a later date. But he did say that the "problem is that the republic of Argentina has been and is now taking steps in an attempt to evade critical parts of" his injunction.
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Argentina Tries To Pay Debt Outside US

In its latest attempt to circumvent US courts, Argentina will seek to pay nearly $200m due on its restructured bonds by disbursing the money to investors next week via a local bank instead of Bank of New York Mellon, its trustee, the Financial Times reported. In response, holders of the country’s defaulted bonds have asked US District Judge Thomas Griesa to find the nation in contempt of court and fine it $50,000 for seeking to evade legal rulings that require Argentina to pay them in full if it also services its restructured debt.
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Argentina is holding a gun to the head of Citigroup, a lawyer for the bank told a three-judge panel in Manhattan on Thursday, the International New York Times DealBook blog reported. The bank has found itself in an awkward position: It must decide between defying a New York court order or a sovereign government, a move that it says would result in “grave sanctions” from Argentina. “We’re going to obey, and if we obey, we have a gun to our head and the gun will probably go off,” Karen Wagner, a lawyer representing Citigroup, said.
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An application by property developer Sean Dunne to end his US bankruptcy case will be heard by a Connecticut judge at trial in December, the Irish Times reported. Judge Alan Shiff set the trial date for December 3rd in a court filing yesterday. He had previous given parties until today to file objections to Mr Dunne’s bid not to seek a discharge from bankruptcy in the US in favour of proceeding with a single bankruptcy case in Ireland.
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