Business briefs: Kia and parts supplier employees clean up area at West Point Lake

Thanks to the efforts of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia employees -- and its parts suppliers -- West Point Lake at Pyne Road Park in LaGrange is cleaner this summer.

The Korean auto manufacturer said 68 of its workers, along with family members and friends, recently took to the recreational lake, filling up 52 trash bags on what was deemed, "West Point Lake Day."

Staffers from Kia parts suppliers Powertech America, Sewon America and Johnson Controls helped out with the clean-up.

"Keeping West Point Lake clean is a great way to help the environment in the community we call home, and this team-building activity provides a positive example for all team members that working together can have a powerful impact," said Stuart Countess, Kia's vice president of quality.

Afterward, the employees spent time enjoying the lake area, the company said, eating lunch and doing some kayaking.

Kia employs about 3,000 people in nearby West Point, Ga. Its parts suppliers in the Chattahoochee Valley collectively employ several thousand more.

Exide's proposed reorganization plan gets OK from creditors

Battery manufacturer Exide Technologies, which employs nearly 250 in Columbus, said it has received a non-binding proposal for a "plan of reorganization" from a committee of its senior secured note holders.

The committee holds a "substantial majority" of the loan notes owed by Atlanta-based Exide, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 2013. The company said it also received extensions to file its plan of reorganization and audited financial statements for fiscal year 2014.

The reorganization proposal has several elements, the company said, including eliminating a "substantial" portion of its $700 million in debt, new agreements giving it about $300 million in new equity, and more cash to emerge from bankruptcy court and conduct business in the future. The proposed amount in new debt would be about $185 million, it said.

Exide said its new deadline for filing its plan of reorganization has been extended to July 31, while it has until Aug. 15 to file its financial statements.

"Since filing for Chapter 11 restructuring in June 2013, Exide has made substantial progress in improving operations and developing a five-year business plan while continuing to service our customers," Robert Caruso, president and chief executive officer of Exide Technologies. "We believe the UNC's proposal is a significant step forward in our

Chapter 11 process."

The company, with global operations, said it anticipates emerging from Chapter 11 restructuring for its U.S. operations by the end of this year.

Exide, which has about 240 hourly and salaried employees in Columbus, has been operating here since 1963. Its plant at 3639 Joy Road includes a 155,000-square-foot facility that has long churned out industrial batteries used as backup power for telecommunication switching systems, cell phone towers, data centers and banks.

In 2012, the company announced a combined $70 million upgrade of its Columbus plant and another in Bristol, Tenn. That added 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space locally.