CHICAGO Consolidated Aluminum Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it grapples with a raft of personal-injury and environmental lawsuits.
The Allendale, N.J.-based company, which formerly did business under the names Conalco Inc. and Aluminum Foils Inc., said it ceased operations in 1994 and in recent years has focused on managing litigation against it, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey.
Conalco was a major manufacturer and supplier of aluminum and aluminum products in the United States and abroad from 1948 to 1994, the company said.
Lawsuits against Consolidated Aluminum have been filed in jurisdictions as diverse as Louisiana, Illinois and West Virginia, the company said. Some relate to cleanup issues and others to allegations that the company is to blame for hearing loss, asbestos exposure and exposure to coal tar pitch volatiles.
Bankruptcy proceedings should allow Consolidated Aluminum to "quickly and efficiently deal with" claims against the company instead of "litigating these matters in various courts across the country," company president, chief financial officer and treasurer Alexander Hoy said in a first-day motion dated Dec. 15.
Consolidated Aluminum estimated its current assets at between $500,000 and $1 million and its liabilities at between $50 million and $100 million, according to court documents signed by Hoy.
The top three unsecured creditors are Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer Alcoa Inc., owed nearly $2.1 million under the terms of a settlement agreement; Consolidated Aluminums pension plan, owed $4.2 million; and parent company Lonza America Inc., Allendale, N.J., owed more than $72.7 million.
Lonza America owns all the common stock of Consolidated Aluminum, according to court documents. The amount owed to Lonza is related to an intercompany loan used in part to pay for retiree pension and medical benefits, the company said.
Consolidated Aluminum said it has no secured or trade debt.