U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc. (USTC) has announced that it has successfully emerged from bankruptcy. The announcement was made on July 14, 2022 and is accordance with the federal bankruptcy court’s approval of the Cooperative’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization in addition to the approval of the settlement terms with the Lewis Class.
“Today’s exit from bankruptcy marks the end of more than 17 years of class action lawsuits following the termination of the federal price support program that ran from 1946 to 2005,” said Oscar J. House, chief executive officer of the USTC. “Our exit allows us to now focus solely on the services and products our Cooperative is known for. I want to thank our customers, employees, suppliers, board of directors, and especially our member growers for their continual support throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, which are now officially behind us.”
USTC is a grower-owned marketing cooperative based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Cooperative processes U.S. flue-cured tobacco grown by its 500+ member-growers in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. In addition to processing and selling raw tobacco materials to cigarette manufacturers worldwide, USTC’s subsidiaries including Premier Manufacturing, Wildhorse Distributing, Big South Distribution, and King Maker Marketing. USTC also manufacturers consumer products for the U.S. market that are sold under the brand names of Wildhorse, 1839, Manitou, Shield 1st Class, Ultra Buy and Traffic.
USTC originally filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2021 in order to meet contractual obligations to its member growers while the company addressed uncertainty presented by the ongoing Lewis class action lawsuit.