Settlement Could Clear Way for Giant Eagle to Buy Bottling Plant

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Settlement Could Clear Way for Giant Eagle to Buy Bottling Plant

PITTSBURGH - Via a proposed settlement Giant Eagle Inc. here has come closer to buying a former LeNature's Inc. bottling plant in Latrobe, Pa. that it has been struggling to secure, but it would cost the chain about $3.25 million more than it originally offered last month.

A Giant Eagle spokesman told Progressive Grocer it had reached a settlement resolving all matters among the parties, including Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group and the bankruptcy trustee. Giant Eagle would pay $23,250,000 to acquire the shuttered bottling facility. All parties agreed to drop legal action against one another under the settlement.

The settlement is still subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court here. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough is expected to consider the settlement in a hearing on Sept. 25. Approval of the settlement would finally clear the way for Giant Eagle to purchase the plant from Cadbury Schweppes without fear of a lawsuit from the trustee.

Giant Eagle said that pending approval, it plans to have the plant operational within six weeks.

The settlement comes less than two weeks after the judge ruled that Giant Eagle -- which won the rights for the plant with a $20 million bid at an Aug. 9 auction -- acted in bad faith by intimidating Cadbury Schweppes into dropping out of the sale. He revoked the chain's $20 million bid to buy the closed plant, and awarded the plant to Cadbury Schweppes for $19 million. Cadbury said it would buy the plant for that amount and then immediately resell it to Giant Eagle.