U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC) exited bankruptcy on July 14. The announcement follows the federal Bankruptcy Court’s approval of the cooperative’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization on June 23, 2022, along with approval of the settlement terms with the Lewis Class.
USTC filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2021 in order to meet contractual obligations to its member growers while the company addressed uncertainty presented by the ongoing Lewis class action lawsuit.
“Today’s exit from bankruptcy marks the end of more than 17 years of class action lawsuits following the termination of the federal price support program that ran from 1946 to 2005,” said USTC CEO Oscar J. House in a statement.
“Our exit allows us to now focus solely on the services and products our cooperative is known for. I want to thank our customers, employees, suppliers, board of directors and especially our member growers for their continual support throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, which are now officially behind us.”
In accordance with the plan, the cooperative pays in full its secured lenders, suppliers and unsecured creditors in addition to settlement amounts to the Lewis Class.
“We are energized,” continued House. “Our business is robust with our farmer members contracting for this fall’s harvest, customers ordering our products and shipments processing daily. With our experienced management team, dedicated employees and our strong market position, the cooperative is poised for a successful future.”