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(Bloomberg) -- Victims of the second-most destructive fire in California history will get a chance to try and persuade a jury that PG&E Corp. should pay them as much as $18 billions in damages.U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Friday lifted a freeze on lawsuits tied to the 2017 Tubbs fire, which killed 22 people and destroyed more than 5,600 structures in Sonoma and Napa counties, opening the door for victims pursuing claims against PG&E to start preparing for a trial.California fire investigators said days before PG&E filed for bankruptcy the utility didn’t cause the Tubbs fire, finding instead that it was sparked by a private electrical system outside a home near Calistoga.But attorneys for a group of victims and insurance companies that paid damages have disputed the state’s findings in bankruptcy court papers. They say their evidence indicates the fire was started by PG&E equipment and want a jury to decide whether the company is to blame for the biggest of the 2017 wine country fires. The lawyers also say that PG&E failed to cut power to the area despite the high fire risk.Montali’s ruling means “it’s going to be up to a jury to decide what PG&E’s role in the Tubbs Fire was,” and how much the utility should pay, Mike Danko, a lawyer representing fire victims said in an email. Arguments and evidence will be aired in open court, he said, adding, “if all goes well, we’ll have the jury’s answer in a matter of months.”Under California law, the Tubbs victims will get a trial within five months, Danko said.While PG&E may have to fight the fire victims’ claims in court, it did score a victory Friday by retaining control of a multibillion-dollar bankruptcy exit plan.In a separate ruling, Montali sided with the utility and rejected requests from two groups of creditors who wanted to propose their own ways to restructure the company. Montali said opening up the bankruptcy to competing plans at this point would have led to “expensive, lengthy and uncertain disputes” that wouldn’t benefit the fire victims.PG&E has outlined its plan to exit the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history, promising to largely protect the value of its shares. The company says it plans to file the proposal by September 9.Claims EstimatesLawyers for PG&E also wanted the bankruptcy court to determine how much the utility could be on the hook for from the Tubbs fire through a proceeding that would estimate claims. The “estimation has to begin now,” the company said in court papers. The California legislature imposed a June 30, 2020, deadline for the resolution of the bankruptcy and a confirmable plan needs to be ready by January for the California Public Utilities Commission’s consideration.PG&E reiterated in a statement that the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, found the Tubbs fire wasn’t related to PG&E equipment. The utility said it will cooperate with the state court.The determination of PG&E’s potential liability is one of the key issues that will need to be resolved for the company to exit bankruptcy. When PG&E filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of January, the move froze lawsuits in connection with the blaze and other fires.Allowing the suits to advance “will definitively bring a resolution as to debtors’ liability in the Tubbs fire, and provide an important data point that most likely will facilitate resolution of the wildfire tort claims in this case,” Montali wrote in Friday’s order.The official committee that speaks for the fire’s victims and a group of holders of fire insurance claims said in court papers that the Tubbs claims make up about one-third of an estimated $54 billion in total claims tied to the 2017 and 2018 fires. The Tubbs fire was the most destructive in state history until November’s Camp Fire killed 86 people and leveled the town of Paradise. State investigators said the Camp Fire was sparked by a PG&E transmission line.“Establishing PG&E’s liability with respect to the Tubbs Fire is a crucial component to resolving these Chapter 11 cases,” an ad hoc group of insurance claim holders, which supported lifting the stay, said in an email statement.In an effort to prevent future liabilities from crippling them PG&E, Sempra Energy and Edison International signed off on the creation of a $21 billion wildfire fund that any one of them could tap the next time a power line sparks a catastrophic blaze. California lawmakers rushed to pass legislation for the creation of the fund in July as the state heads into yet another wildfire season.The case is PG&E Corp., 19-30088, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of California (San Francisco)\--With assistance from Allison McNeely and Steven Church.To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at email@example.com;Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at email@example.com, ;Lynn Doan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Joe Schneider, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Bankrupt California power giant PG&E Corp. fought off a move by bondholders including Pacific Investment Management Co. and Elliott Management Corp. that would’ve allowed creditors to propose ways to restructure the company.U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali sided with the company Friday in denying motions from creditor groups, saying that PG&E should retain the exclusive right to come up with a plan to deal with the estimated $30 billion in wildfire liabilities that forced it to file for Chapter 11 in January. The company is crafting a proposal to cover the fire costs, potentially restructure its debt and allow shareholders to retain their stake in the troubled utility.Ending PG&E’s exclusivity period early wouldn’t be beneficial to the utility’s wildfire victims, Montali said in a memorandum filed with his order.“Competing plans are tempting, and no doubt produce a feast for lawyers, accountants, investment bankers and others, not to mention the intellectual challenges to the court,” the judge wrote. “But the inescapable fact is that the fire victims and their insurers should not need to wait for conclusion of expensive, lengthy and uncertain disputes that only indirectly concern them.”The massive bankruptcy case has attracted some of the biggest names in the financial world, and had Montali sided with them, against PG&E, he would have opened the door for groups of investors and creditors to band together in an attempt to pitch vying proposals for the restructuring. One group that includes Pimco and Elliott have come up with a plan to all but wipe out the stake of current shareholders in the utility.Second PlanA separate group of insurance claim holders also sought to end the exclusivity period, saying it wanted to pitch a plan that included higher recoveries for their claims. Montali denied that request as well. Representatives for both groups didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.“PG&E has made significant progress in further refining a viable, fair, and comprehensive plan of reorganization that will compensate wildfire victims, protect customer rates, and put PG&E on a path to be the energy company our customers need and deserve,” the utility said in a statement Friday.PG&E said in court earlier this week that it would file its reorganization plan by Sept. 9 and that it had lined up at least $13 billion in financing commitments.“The debtors have placed before all a proposal that, if coaxed and guided to maturity should result in a proper outcome for all creditors,” Montali wrote Friday.Under U.S. bankruptcy law, a company has a limited amount of time to develop a reorganization plan and persuade creditors to vote in favor of it. Initially, no other competing proposals are allowed, so the bondholders needed permission from Montali before they could proceed. It’s unusual for a bankruptcy judge to grant such a request.Complex Case“In a complex case, it would be much more the exception than the rule,” Aaron Javian, head of the restructuring practice at Reed Smith LLP, said in an interview before the ruling.PG&E had argued in a court filing that ending its exclusive control over the reorganization process, before it figures out its wildfire liabilities, would “lead to further distraction, costs and waste” and would jeopardize the company’s chances of exiting bankruptcy by June 2020, a deadline set by the state.Bondholders, meanwhile, had said their efforts wouldn’t delay the bankruptcy case.“It is in no stakeholder’s interest to waste critically important time to pursue plan constructs that are not credible or potentially confirmable, especially those that lack funding to address wildfire claims,” the group said in a filing reiterating its push to end PG&E’s exclusive control over its bankruptcy plan.PG&E filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 29 to address liabilities resulting from a series of devastating fires that tore through Northern California in 2017 and 2018. The effects have been rippling through millions of ratepayers, hundreds of creditors, thousands of workers and the state’s political system.Earlier this year, Montali gave PG&E until late September to submit a plan to restructure and exit bankruptcy by setting up a trust that would cover tens of billions of dollars in claims by wildfire victims.The push by bondholders to open the reorganization process to competing plans was supported by the official committee of unsecured creditors, labor unions and power companies that sell electricity to PG&E, including NextEra Energy Inc.The case is PG&E Corp. 19-bk-30088, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of California (San Francisco)(Updates with PG&E comment in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Scott Deveau and Jeremy Hill.To contact the reporters on this story: Allison McNeely in New York at email@example.com;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Shannon D. Harrington, Dan WilchinsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Nio Inc. (NIO) has disrupted the automotive space since 2014 but only made waves in the market since its IPO. Investors have suffered numerous setbacks.
The JV between Fluor (FLR) and United Infrastructure Group has been selected by NCDOT for a project, which will boost the Mining, Industrial, Infrastructure & Power business division of the former.
(Bloomberg) -- Disappointing results at Tapestry Inc.’s Kate Spade line prompted a string of rating downgrades on the stock, with analysts saying a recovery may take several quarters.After sliding 22% Thursday to a 10-year low, Tapestry shares pared some of the losses to rise as much as 3.4% in New York on Friday.Here’s a round up of the analyst commentaries post-earnings.Credit Suisse, Michael Binetti“Kate outlook is now significantly reduced due to: 1) A big fourth-quarter same store sales miss; 2) Deteriorating near-term trends; 3) Elevated inventories which will pressure Kate same store sale and gross margin through fiscal 2020.”“With Tapestry offering few details on the timeline back to profitable Kate growth, we downgrade to Neutral despite the stock already pulling back significantly.”Downgrade to neutral from outperform, price target to $22 from $38.MKM Partners, Roxanne Meyer“Kate Spade’s outlook reflects a deterioration of trends that may take several quarters or more to repair.”“While we see limited downside risk to the stock from here, we don’t see a positive catalyst to give us conviction in material upside.”Downgrade to neutral from buy, price target to $21 from $52.Piper Jaffray, Erinn Murphy“While expectations weren’t lofty into this print, the magnitude of Kate Spade’s comp miss and quarter to date trends were far worse than expected.”“We see pressure on the channels that Tapestry sells into (outlets, mall) and prefer to wait for more consistent positive signs of Kate Spade brand momentum and product balance improving.”Downgrade to neutral from overweight, price target to $23 from $40.Telsey Advisory, Dana Telsey“Comp trends at Kate are deteriorating in the current quarter despite the full introduction of new creative director Nicola Glass’s product in full line stores by the end of June.”“While current valuation can offer some downside protection, we see the lack of clarity around the direction of the Kate brand and a second consecutive year of expected flat earnings growth as weighing on upside potential as we enter a more uncertain macro environment.”Downgrade to market perform from outperform, price target to to $22 from $42.(Updates stock move in second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Esha Dey in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at email@example.com, Steven Fromm, Scott SchnipperFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Per CommScope (COMM), its investment to develop more efficient solutions in the field of digital distributed antenna systems goes back many years.
J. C. Penney's (JCP) Q2 performance is adversely impacted by weak comps. To improve matters, the company announces partnership with thredUP.
Chinese electric car maker NIO delivered 837 cars in July, down from 1,340 cars in June. Tesla’s delivery growth range was 110%–221% in the last year.
The inverted yield curve sparks recession worries. Macy's (M) and Walmart (WMT) earnings diverge. A Nvidia (NVDA) earnings preview. And why Hasbro (HAS) is a Zacks Rank 1 (Strong Buy) stock, all on today's episode of Free Lunch here at Zacks...