Judge: Workers can operate closed Argentine plant

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine judge ruled on Monday that the shuttered local subsidiary of Chicago-based printing company R.R. Donnelley & Sons can continue operations under the control of a workers' cooperative.

The company closed its plant on the outskirts of Buenos Aires in August, filing for bankruptcy, citing economic turmoil Argentina, which is plagued by recession and one of the world's highest inflation rates. At the time, workers protested outside the shuttered gate about the layoff of about 400 employees.

President Cristina Fernandez has attributed the decision to shut the plant to the supposed presence on the company's board of U.S. hedge funds linked to Paul Singer's NML Capital Ltd., which is in a legal battle with her leftist government over bond payments left over from the country's default in 2001.

Fernandez's government has said that the company's finances were in good shape. RR Donnelley's executives are being investigated in Argentina for allegedly filing a fraudulent bankruptcy.

R.R. Donnelley, for its part, has denied having any relation to Argentine bond holders and said its operations in Argentina, which lasted for 22 years, were no longer profitable.

In his ruling, judge Gerardo Santicchia set a series of prerequisites that the workers' cooperative, which is known as "MadyGraf," needs to meet in order to begin operations. They include paying a fee for the premises and getting insured for fire hazards and destruction of property, among others.