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Judge sets plan confirmation date for Southern

By Clair Johnson

Billings Gazette

The bankruptcy judge in the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative case set a fast-track schedule for the proposed reorganization of the Billings-based wholesale power provider.
During a hearing on Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirscher set June 2 for a confirmation hearing on a proposed plan that would restructure the co-op and its debt to noteholders.
The judge also conditionally approved an amended detailed report on Southern’s business organization, its bankruptcy filing and proposed reorganization. The required report is to provide parties with enough information from which they can make a decision about its reorganization proposal.
Kirscher gave conditional approval after Southern’s attorney, Malcolm Goodrich of Billings, said some technical changes and corrections needed to be made to the amended report, known as a disclosure statement.
Billings attorney Malcolm Goodrich, who represents Southern, asked for an accelerated schedule saying his is “extremely mindful” of costs and fees being accrued in the case. No one objected to the schedule.
While Southern and its noteholders, who are the secured creditors, have reached a settlement, Goodrich said he needs more time to try to reach agreements with other parties, including the unsecured creditors and PPL, which had contracted to provide power to Southern.
“Our goal is a fully-consented plan,” Goodrich said.
Kirscher said he appreciated the hard work of the parties. “I know we’ll come to a final product soon,” he said.

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