Bloomberg News

AstraZeneca Toxic-Cleanup Affiliate Files Bankruptcy

October 24, 2012

An AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) affiliate that owns a contaminated former acid-factory site in Richmond, California, sought U.S. bankruptcy protection.

Cherokee Simeon Venture I LLC, which uses AstraZeneca’s U.S. headquarters address in Wilmington, Delaware, cited about $50 million each in assets and debt in papers filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington.

Officials determined that “it is desirable and in the best interests of the company, its creditors” and related parties to seek Chapter 11 protection, Brian Spiller, Cherokee manager, wrote in court papers.

The waste site, along San Francisco Bay, was developed in 1897 by Stauffer Chemical Co., later Bayer CropScience Inc., to make sulfuric acid, and until the 1970s was also used to produce agricultural products including fertilizer, according to a 2005 maintenance plan submitted to the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Through a series of deals, chemical maker Zeneca Inc., an AstraZeneca unit, acquired the site and sold it to Cherokee in 2002. The 31-acre plot was capped with a cement mixture and Cherokee was ordered by state environmental officials to maintain the cap.

Toxins found at the site or in groundwater include arsenic, DDT, lead, copper, mercury, nickel and vinyl chloride, according to the California agency.

Zeneca Inc. is listed in court papers as an unsecured creditor owed as much as $42.9 million.

The case is In re Cherokee Simeon Venture I LLC, 12bk12913, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware at pmilford@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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