A. H. Robins Co. has postponed its annual meeting indefinitely, the company announced yesterday.
Officials of the Richmond-based pharmaceutical company, which made the Dalkon Shield intrauterine birth control device, would not elaborate on why the meeting -- which normally is held in April -- has been postponed except to say that Robins is awaiting "further developments" in its filing for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law.
"In view of our Chapter 11 case, we believe it is advisable that the annual meeting be postponed," said E. Claiborne Robins Jr., president and chief executive officer. "It is our intention to await further developments in the case before selecting a new date."
"One of the developments would be for the company to be further along in the reorganization plan," said Roscoe E. Puckett Jr., a spokesman for Robins, which is facing thousands of punitive-damage claims from users of the contraceptive device.
When Robins filed for Chapter 11 in August in Richmond, the company said that its cash reserves had been drained by the thousands of settlements with women who claimed to have suffered sterility or other serious injuries from using the Dalkon Shield.
By the time of Robins' Chapter 11 filing, about 15,000 U.S. women had sued or filed claims, mainly for pelvic infections and related loss or impairment of the ability to bear children. Robins and Aetna Life and Casualty Co. had paid out a reported $520 million to settle approximately 10,000 of them and for legal expenses.
Originally, U.S. District Judge Robert R. Merhige Jr. gave Robins four months -- until Dec. 19 -- to file a reorganization plan that would settle all claims, but the company won a delay until March 31..
Since its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Robins has accumulated $44 million in cash and posted net earnings of $32.8 million, according to court records. Merhige has authorized Robins to spend about $5 million to notify potential claimants worldwide that the deadline for filing a claim is April 30.