USG Corp. announced that it has reached an agreement to resolve all present and future asbestos-related personal injury claims, enabling the company and its subsidiaries to take a significant step toward emerging from bankruptcy. The agreement was reached with the Asbestos Personal Injury Claimants Committee and the court-appointed Representative for Future Asbestos Claimants, and is also supported by the committees representing both unsecured creditors and stockholders. USG and its subsidiaries filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in June 2001 to resolve asbestos claims in a fair and equitable manner, and protect the long-term value of the company's businesses.

Under the agreement, the company will establish and fund a personal injury trust to pay asbestos personal injury claims. The bank lenders, bondholders and trade suppliers will be paid in full with interest. Stockholders will retain ownership of the company. Financing for the plan is expected to be provided from the company's cash on hand, a $1.8 billion rights offering to existing stockholders backstopped by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., tax refunds and new long-term debt. The terms of the agreement will be contained in a plan of reorganization that the company expected to file in February along with a disclosure statement. After voting on the plan, it will require approval by both the bankruptcy court and the district court that oversees the cases.

"This agreement will achieve the key goals we established when USG and its subsidiaries filed Chapter 11 in 2001," said William C. Foote, chairman and CEO. "Upon final court approval, our trade creditors, bank lenders and bondholders will be paid in full, in cash, with interest; USG and its subsidiaries will emerge from Chapter 11 free of all asbestos personal injury claims; significant shareholder equity will be preserved; and we will emerge with a solid balance sheet that will enable us to continue to invest and grow the company. Importantly, after more than four years in Chapter 11, the agreement will also enable compensation to flow to claimants who have suffered an asbestos-related illness."