US Tobacco Cooperative (USTC) began planning for an exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy later this summer. The cooperative originally filed for protection in July 2021 to meet its contractual obligations to its member growers while the company faced uncertainty presented by an ongoing class action lawsuit.
“On February 2, after 17 years of litigation, we were able to reach economic terms of a settlement with the Lewis class,” USTC CEO Oscar J. House said. “As we await final court approval this summer, we begin preparing to emerge from bankruptcy and continue to provide the exceptional service and quality products our organization is known for around the world.”
The USTC originally filed for protection in federal bankruptcy court to satisfy obligations to its more than 550 producer members, more than 200 employees, suppliers and customers. The settlement and reorganization plan will enable the cooperative to honor its commitments worldwide and emerge from bankruptcy well positioned to serve its member-producers. Details of the settlement will be provided in the normal course of obtaining formal court approval of the USTC settlement and reorganization plan.
“USTC is healthy and poised for a sustainable and prosperous future,” House continued. “Throughout the bankruptcy process, we have fulfilled all our obligations to all stakeholders: our customers, our producer members, our vendors and our employees. In the future, we will continue to do so, stronger than ever.