Court OKs Safety-Kleen Reorganization

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Safety-Kleen Corp., North Americas largest collector and rerefiner of used lubricating oil, has received court approval to reorganize and expects to emerge from bankruptcy this quarter.

The companys used oil business has slimmed down but otherwise continues to operate much as it did before seeking bankruptcy protection in June2000, a spokesman said.

Weve tried to focus on streamlining, spokesman John Kyte said, noting that the current payroll of 5,000 is now half of what it was three years ago. Safety-Kleen eliminated 3,000 jobs earlier this year with the sale of its Chemical Services Division. In addition to collecting and rerefining used oil, it continues to sell parts cleaners and industrial waste management services.

Safety-Kleen also continues to operate rerefineries in East Chicago, Ind., and Breslau, Ontario, with combined capacity to produce 5,000 barrels per day of Group I base oils. It collects 100 million gallons of used oil annually.

The company does have a new headquarters and largely new management. In December it moved its main offices from Columbia, S.C., to Plano, Texas. Ronald Rittenmeyer took over as chairman, chief executive officer and president in August 2001, and there has also been complete turnover of the chief financial officer and board of directors.

Of course, the other major change brought about by the bankruptcy will be the write-down of debt. Kyte said Safety-Kleen owed billions when it entered bankruptcy andthe reorganization plan will reduce that amount to a few hundred million. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware confirmed that plan Aug. 1.

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