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Bus company Laidlaw International Inc. emerged from U.S. bankruptcy protection Monday after securing nearly $1.23-billion (U.S.) in exit financing.

The firm, which felt the financial pinch after a period of aggressive expansion in the 1990s, had filed for bankruptcy protection in both Canada and the United States about two years ago.

Monday's announcement also saw the company -- formerly known as Laidlaw Inc. -- rechristen itself as Laidlaw International, with its headquarters in Illinois.

"This is a very memorable day for the company," Laidlaw president and chief executive officer Kevin Benson said.

"It marks the end of a challenging period for all involved in the reorganization process."

Of the $1.23-billion in exit financing, about $1-billion will be used to fund distributions to Laidlaw's creditors.

The company, formerly based in Burlington, Ont., is now headquartered in Naperville, Ill. as a result of the restructuring plan.

That plan saw Laidlaw International -- operator of North America's biggest fleet of school buses and the Greyhound intercity bus line -- also acquire all of the assets of Laidlaw Inc., the Canadian operation.

The restructuring saw Laidlaw International issue 103.8 million shares of new common stock to Laidlaw Inc. creditors. Laidlaw Inc.'s old common stock was cancelled as of Monday.