Exide Technologies, based in Milton, Georgia, has announced it will move to permanently close its lead-acid battery smelting and recycling facility in Vernon, California, immediately under the terms of a nonprosecution agreement reached with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California ("USAO") that resolves the USAO’s criminal investigation into Exide.
In conjunction with the closure, Exide also has entered into an amendment to the 2014 stipulation and order with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) that provides a framework for the closure and cleanup of the Vernon site. Exide says it reached this amendment after, among other developments, hearing from the DTSC that it would likely deny Exide’s Part B hazardous waste facility permit application.
Exide requests that the bankruptcy court approve the agreements as well as authorize the closure of the Vernon facility at a hearing scheduled for March 27, 2015, at which Exide says it also will seek confirmation of its Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.
“The agreements with the USAO and the [DTSC] should allow us to resolve key conditions to funding of the backstop commitment agreement and to continue to pursue plan confirmation," says Robert M. Caruso, president and CEO of Exide Technologies. “We recognize the impacts that closing the Vernon facility will have on our approximately 130 employees and their families. On behalf of the company, I thank them and the United Steel Workers Union for their commitment and dedication.”
By obtaining plan confirmation and emerging from Chapter 11, Exide says it expects to be able to meet its closure and cleanup obligations under these agreements, continue to honor its environmental obligations at its other facilities and preserve nearly 10,000 jobs globally.
Exide also operates lead acid battery smelting and recycling plants in Muncie, Indiana and Canon Hollow, Missouri; a plastics recycling plant in Reading, Pennsylvania; and lead-acid battery smelting and recycling plants in Spain and Portugal.
Additional details about the Vernon closing can be found in Exide’s Current Report on Form 8-K, to be filed at http://ir.exide.com/sec.cfm. Bankruptcy filings, including the motions, are available at www.exiderestructures.com.
Exide Technologies, with operations in more than 80 countries, is one of the world's largest producers and recyclers of lead-acid batteries.