Albuquerque, New Mexico/Mumbai, July 10 (ANI/Business Wire India): The unions representing the workers of ASARCO LLC ("ASARCO"), and Sterlite Industries (India) Limited ("Sterlite") (NYSE:SLT), a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc and a party to an agreement to acquire substantially all assets of ASARCO, jointly announced today that they have reached agreement on the terms of the collective bargaining agreement that would go into effect once the proposed acquisition is approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing ASARCO's chapter 11 case.
"We regard our employees as a vitally important part of our business and are extremely happy to have concluded a mutually satisfactory agreement with ASARCO's representatives," said Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Sterlite. "We look forward to working with the unions and ASARCO's highly-skilled employees. Sterlite is also pleased that it has been granted bid protections by the bankruptcy judge, which represents another important milestone in the acquisition process."
"The unions are pleased that an agreement has been reached with Sterlite. We believe that Sterlite, with its strong experience in the copper business, will strengthen ASARCO's operations for the long term benefit of all stakeholders, including its employees," said Terry Bonds, Chairman of the ASARCO Union Negotiating Committee.
The new collective bargaining agreement, which fully retains all existing worker benefits, contains terms that are designed to ensure that ASARCO's operations will be improved and made more competitive.
There are also strong commitments to ensure that Sterlite invests in and operates all of ASARCO's existing operations.
The parties have also agreed that the term of the current agreement expiring in 2010 will be extended by three years to 2013.
"This reflects the confidence and commitment of Sterlite and bodes well for the long term growth of ASARCO," expressed Joseph Lapinsky, CEO and President of ASARCO.
In another development advancing Sterlite's proposed acquisition, the bankruptcy judge presiding over ASARCO's chapter 11 case approved the bid protections contemplated by the Purchase and Sale Agreement with ASARCO, which includes, among other things, a break-up fee of 52 million dollars payable to Sterlite under certain circumstances.
ASARCO, which owns and operates copper mines, smelters, refineries and other related assets, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2005 before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division.
The proposed sale of assets to Sterlite is part of a plan to bring the bankruptcy case to a close.