Issue Date: April 12, 2004
OUT OF THE WOODS
Barring last minute complications, Dow Corning will end a nine-year stint under court supervision when it emerges from bankruptcy reorganization on June 1.
However, trimming employment to improve the firm's financial performance will be among the first orders of business. A Dow Corning spokeswoman says about 250 positions--nearly 3% of the workforce--are slated to go by year's end. A merger of several business units last year left redundancies, she adds.
Judge Denise Page Hood of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan set the date to end Dow Corning's ordeal just two weeks after an attorney representing 48 Nevada women dropped his appeal of the firm's $3.2 billion settlement with silicone gel breast implant recipients.
Some 170,000 breast implant claimants and another 75,000 claimants with other types of silicone implants--including joint and jaw implants--could begin receiving claim packets the first week of June. Payments of between $2,000 and $330,000 could start being distributed to claimants by June 15, according to the official website of the Dow Corning Trust Settlement Facility.
A dispute over interest due on about $800 million owed to commercial creditors is the last remaining obstacle to bankruptcy resolution. But the company spokeswoman is confident that a deal will be worked out to let the June 1 date stand.
The workforce reduction will go ahead regardless of the firm's bankruptcy status. "We're looking at ways to be more efficient to meet financial targets," the spokeswoman explains. Although the company can't control high energy and raw material costs, "the size of the organization is one thing we can control."
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