Incentive Plan

Form of Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P. Long-Term Incentive Plan

 

EXHIBIT 10.3
FORM OF EAGLE ROCK ENERGY PARTNERS, L.P.
LONG-TERM INCENTIVE PLAN
     SECTION 1. Purpose of the Plan.
     The Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P. Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “Plan”) has been adopted by Eagle Rock Energy G&P, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (the “General Partner”), the general partner of Eagle Rock Energy GP, L.P., which is, in turn, the general partner of Eagle Rock Energy Partners, L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (the “Partnership”). The Plan is intended to promote the interests of the Partnership and its Affiliates by providing to Employees, Consultants and Directors incentive compensation awards based on Units to encourage superior performance. The Plan is also contemplated to enhance the ability of the Partnership and its Affiliates to attract and retain the services of individuals who are essential for the growth and profitability of the Partnership and to encourage them to devote their best efforts to advancing the business of the Partnership.
     SECTION 2. Definitions.
     As used in the Plan, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:
     “Affiliate” means, with respect to any Person, any other Person that directly or indirectly through one or more intermediaries controls, is controlled by or is under common control with, the Person in question. As used herein, the term “control” means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a Person, whether through ownership of voting securities, by contract or otherwise.
     “Award” means an Option, Restricted Unit, Phantom Unit, Substitute Award or Unit Award granted under the Plan, and shall include any tandem DERs granted with respect to a Phantom Unit.
     “Award Agreement” means the written or electronic agreement by which an Award shall be evidenced.
     “Board” means the Board of Directors of the General Partner.
     “Change of Control” means, and shall be deemed to have occurred upon one or more of the following events:
          (i) any “person” or “group” within the meaning of those terms as used in Sections 13(d) and 14(d)(2) of the Exchange Act, other than or members of the NRG Group, shall become the beneficial owner, by way of merger, consolidation, recapitalization, reorganization or otherwise, of 50% or more of the voting power of the voting securities of the General Partner or the Partnership;

 


 

          (ii) the limited partners of the General Partner or the Partnership approve, in one or a series of transactions, a plan of complete liquidation of the General Partner or the Partnership;
          (iii) the sale or other disposition by the General Partner or the Partnership of all or substantially all of its assets in one or more transactions to any Person other than an Affiliate; or
          (iv) the General Partner or an Affiliate of the General Partner or the Partnership ceases to be the general partner of the Partnership.
For purposes of this Plan, “NRG Group” shall mean Natural Gas Partners VII, L.P., Natural Gas Partners VIII, L.P., Natural Gas Partners, L.L.C. d/b/a NGP Energy Capital Management, and their respective Affiliates (other than the Partnership, the General Partner, the general partner of the Partnership and their respective subsidiaries) and their Affiliate’s respective directors, officers, shareholders, members, managers, representatives of management committees and employees (and members of their respective families and trusts for the primary benefit of such family members).
Notwithstanding the foregoing, with respect to an Award that is subject to Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, “Change of Control” shall have the meaning ascribed to “change of control events” in the regulations issued with respect to Section 409A.
     “Committee” means the Board, the Compensation Committee of the Board or such other committee as may be appointed by the Board to administer the Plan.
     “Consultant” means an individual who renders consulting or advisory services to General Partner or an Affiliate thereof, other than a member of the NRG Group.
     “DER” means a distribution equivalent right, being a contingent right, granted in tandem with a specific Phantom Unit, to receive with respect to each Unit subject to the Award an amount in cash equal to the cash distributions made by the Partnership with respect to a Unit during the period such Award is outstanding.
     “Director” means a member of the Board or the board of an Affiliate of the General Partner who is not an Employee or a Consultant (other than in that individual’s capacity as a Director).
     “Employee” means an employee of the Partnership or an Affiliate of the Partnership, other than a member of the NRG Group.
     “Exchange Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
     “Fair Market Value” means, on any relevant date, the closing sales price of a Unit on the principal national securities exchange or other market in which trading in Units occurs on the last market trading day prior to the applicable day (or, if there is no trading in the Units on such date, on the next preceding day on which there was trading) as reported in The Wall Street Journal (or other reporting service approved by the Committee). If Units are not traded on a national

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securities exchange or other market at the time a determination of Fair Market Value is required to be made hereunder, the determination of Fair Market Value shall be made in good faith by the Committee.
     “Option” means an option to purchase Units granted under the Plan.
     “Participant” means an Employee, Consultant or Director granted an Award under the Plan.
     “Partnership Agreement” means the Agreement of Limited Partnership of the Partnership, as it may be amended or amended and restated from time to time.
     “Person” means an individual or a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, unincorporated organization, association, governmental agency or political subdivision thereof or other entity.
     “Phantom Unit” means a notional Unit granted under the Plan which upon vesting entitles the Participant to receive a Unit or an amount of cash equal to the Fair Market Value of a Unit, as determined by the Committee in its discretion.
     “Restricted Period” means the period established by the Committee with respect to an Award during which the Award remains subject to forfeiture and is either not exercisable by or payable to the Participant, as the case may be.
     “Restricted Unit” means a Unit granted under the Plan that is subject to a Restricted Period.
     “Rule 16b-3” means Rule 16b-3 promulgated by the SEC under the Exchange Act or any successor rule or regulation thereto as in effect from time to time.
     “SEC” means the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any successor thereto.
     “Substitute Award” means an award granted pursuant to Section 6(d) of the Plan.
     “UDR” means a distribution made by the Partnership with respect to a Restricted Unit.
     “Unit” means a Common Unit of the Partnership.
     “Unit Award” means an award granted pursuant to Section 6(c) of the Plan.
     SECTION 3. Administration.
     The Plan shall be administered by the Committee. A majority of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, and the acts of the members of the Committee who are present at any meeting thereof at which a quorum is present, or acts unanimously approved by the members of the Committee in writing, shall be the acts of the Committee. Subject to the following and any applicable law, the Committee, in its sole discretion, may delegate any or all of its powers and duties under the Plan, including the power to grant Awards under the Plan, to the Chief

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Executive Officer of the General Partner, subject to such limitations on such delegated powers and duties as the Committee may impose, if any. Upon any such delegation all references in the Plan to the “Committee”, other than in Section 7, shall be deemed to include the Chief Executive Officer. Any such delegation shall not limit the Chief Executive Officer’s right to receive Awards under the Plan; provided, however, the Chief Executive Officer may not grant Awards to himself, a Director or any executive officer of the General Partner or an Affiliate, or take any action with respect to any Award previously granted to himself, a person who is an executive officer or a Director. Subject to the terms of the Plan and applicable law, and in addition to other express powers and authorizations conferred on the Committee by the Plan, the Committee shall have full power and authority to: (i) designate Participants; (ii) determine the type or types of Awards to be granted to a Participant; (iii) determine the number of Units to be covered by Awards; (iv) determine the terms and conditions of any Award; (v) determine whether, to what extent, and under what circumstances Awards may be settled, exercised, canceled, or forfeited; (vi) interpret and administer the Plan and any instrument or agreement relating to an Award made under the Plan; (vii) establish, amend, suspend, or waive such rules and regulations and appoint such agents as it shall deem appropriate for the proper administration of the Plan; and (viii) make any other determination and take any other action that the Committee deems necessary or desirable for the administration of the Plan. The Committee may correct any defect or supply any omission or reconcile any inconsistency in the Plan or an Award Agreement in such manner and to such extent as the Committee deems necessary or appropriate. Unless otherwise expressly provided in the Plan, all designations, determinations, interpretations, and other decisions under or with respect to the Plan or any Award shall be within the sole discretion of the Committee, may be made at any time and shall be final, conclusive, and binding upon all Persons, including, without limitation, the General Partner, the Partnership, any Affiliate, any Participant, and any beneficiary of any Participant.
     SECTION 4. Units.
     (a) Limits on Units Deliverable. Subject to adjustment as provided in Section 4(c), the number of Units that may be delivered with respect to Awards under the Plan is 1,000,000. Units withheld from an Award to satisfy the Partnership’s or an Affiliate’s tax withholding obligations with respect to the Award shall not be considered to be Units delivered under the Plan for this purpose. If any Award is forfeited, cancelled, exercised, or otherwise terminates or expires without the actual delivery of Units pursuant to such Award (the grant of Restricted Units is not a delivery of Units for this purpose), the Units subject to such Award shall again be available for Awards under the Plan. There shall not be any limitation on the number of Awards that may be granted and paid in cash.
     (b) Sources of Units Deliverable Under Awards. Any Units delivered pursuant to an Award shall consist, in whole or in part, of Units acquired in the open market, from any Affiliate, the Partnership or any other Person, or any combination of the foregoing, as determined by the Committee in its discretion.
     (c) Adjustments. In the event of any distribution (whether in the form of Units, other securities or property other than cash), recapitalization, split, reverse split, reorganization, merger, consolidation, split-up, spin-off, combination, repurchase, or exchange of Units or other securities of the Partnership, issuance of warrants or other rights to purchase Units or other

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securities of the Partnership, or other similar transaction or event, the Committee shall proportionally adjust the number of Units covered by each outstanding Award and the terms, including the exercise price (if any), of such Award to reflect such transaction and shall also adjust the number and type of Units (or other securities or property) with respect to which Awards may be granted.
     SECTION 5. Eligibility.
     Any Employee, Consultant or Director shall be eligible to be designated a Participant and receive an Award under the Plan.
     SECTION 6. Awards.
     (a) Options. The Committee shall have the authority to determine the Employees, Consultants and Directors to whom Options shall be granted, the number of Units to be covered by each Option, the purchase price therefor and the Restricted Period and other conditions and limitations applicable to the exercise of the Option, including the following terms and conditions and such additional terms and conditions, as the Committee shall determine, that are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Plan.
     (i) Exercise Price. The exercise price per Unit purchasable under an Option shall be determined by the Committee at the time the Option is granted but, except with respect to Substitute Awards, may not be less than the Fair Market Value of a Unit as of the date of grant of the Option.
     (ii) Time and Method of Exercise. The Committee shall determine the exercise terms and the Restricted Period with respect to an Option grant, which may include, without limitation, a provision for accelerated vesting upon the achievement of specified performance goals or other events, and the method or methods by which payment of the exercise price with respect thereto may be made or deemed to have been made, which may include, without limitation, cash, check acceptable to the General Partner, a “cashless-broker” exercise through procedures approved by the General Partner, or any combination of methods, having a Fair Market Value on the exercise date equal to the relevant exercise price.
     (iii) Forfeitures. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the Option grant, upon termination of a Participant’s employment with the General Partner and its Affiliates or membership on the Board, whichever is applicable, for any reason during the applicable Restricted Period, all unvested Options shall be forfeited by the Participant. The Committee may, in its discretion, waive in whole or in part such forfeiture with respect to a Participant’s Options.
     (b) Restricted Units and Phantom Units. The Committee shall have the authority to determine the Employees, Consultants and Directors to whom Restricted Units or Phantom Units shall be granted, the number of Restricted Units or Phantom Units to be granted to each such Participant, the Restricted Period, the conditions under which the Restricted Units or Phantom Units may become vested or forfeited and such other terms and conditions as the Committee may establish with respect to such Awards.

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     (i) DERs. To the extent provided by the Committee, in its discretion, a grant of Phantom Units may include a tandem DER grant, which may provide that such DERs shall be paid directly to the Participant, be credited to a bookkeeping account (with or without interest in the discretion of the Committee) subject to the same vesting restrictions as the tandem Phantom Unit Award, or be subject to such other provisions or restrictions as determined by the Committee in its discretion. Absent a contrary provision in the Award Agreement, DERs shall be paid to the Participant without restriction.
     (ii) UDRs. To the extent provided by the Committee, in its discretion, a grant of Restricted Units may provide that distributions made by the Partnership with respect to the Restricted Units shall be subject to the same forfeiture and other restrictions as the Restricted Unit and, if restricted, such distributions shall be held, without interest, until the Restricted Unit vests or is forfeited with the UDR being paid or forfeited at the same time, as the case may be. Absent such a restriction on the UDRs in the Award Agreement, UDRs shall be paid to the holder of the Restricted Unit without restriction.
     (iii) Forfeitures. Except as otherwise provided in the terms of the Restricted Units or Phantom Units Award Agreement, upon termination of a Participant’s employment with, or consultant services to, the General Partner and its Affiliates or membership on the Board, whichever is applicable, for any reason during the applicable Restricted Period, all outstanding, unvested Restricted Units and Phantom Units awarded the Participant shall be automatically forfeited on such termination. The Committee may, in its discretion, waive in whole or in part such forfeiture with respect to a Participant’s Restricted Units and/or Phantom Units.
     (iv) Lapse of Restrictions.
     (A) Phantom Units. Upon or as soon as reasonably practical following the vesting of each Phantom Unit, subject to the provisions of Section 8(b), the Participant shall be entitled to receive one Unit or cash equal to the Fair Market Value of a Unit, as determined by the Committee in its discretion.
     (B) Restricted Units. Upon or as soon as reasonably practical following the vesting of each Restricted Unit, subject to satisfying the tax withholding obligations of Section 8(b), the Participant shall be entitled to have the restrictions removed from his or her Unit certificate so that the Participant then holds an unrestricted Unit.
     (c) Unit Awards. Units not subject to a Restricted Period may be granted under the Plan to any Employee, Consultant or Director as a bonus or additional compensation or in lieu of cash compensation the individual is otherwise entitled to receive, in such amounts as the Committee determines to be appropriate.
     (d) Substitute Awards. Awards may be granted under the Plan in substitution for similar awards held by individuals who become Employees, Consultants or Directors as a result of a merger, consolidation or acquisition by the Partnership or an Affiliate of another entity or

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the assets of another entity. Such Substitute Awards that are Options may have exercise prices less than the Fair Market Value of a Unit on the date of such substitution.
        (e) General.
     (i) Awards May Be Granted Separately or Together. Awards may, in the discretion of the Committee, be granted either alone or in addition to, in tandem with, or in substitution for any other Award granted under the Plan or any award granted under any other plan of the Partnership or any Affiliate. Awards granted in addition to or in tandem with other Awards or awards granted under any other plan of the Partnership or any Affiliate may be granted either at the same time as or at a different time from the grant of such other Awards or awards.
     (ii) Limits on Transfer of Awards.
     (A) Except as provided in Paragraph (C) below, each Option shall be exercisable only by the Participant during the Participant’s lifetime, or by the person to whom the Participant’s rights shall pass by will or the laws of descent and distribution.
     (B) Except as provided in Paragraph (C) below, no Award and no right under any such Award may be assigned, alienated, pledged, attached, sold or otherwise transferred or encumbered by a Participant and any such purported assignment, alienation, pledge, attachment, sale, transfer or encumbrance shall be void and unenforceable against the General Partner, the Partnership or any Affiliate.
     (C) To the extent specifically provided by the Committee with respect to an Option, an Option may be transferred by a Participant without consideration to immediate family members or related family trusts, limited partnerships or similar entities or on such terms and conditions as the Committee may from time to time establish.
     (iii) Term of Awards. The term of each Award shall be for such period as may be determined by the Committee.
     (iv) Unit Certificates. All certificates for Units or other securities of the Partnership delivered under the Plan pursuant to any Award or the exercise thereof shall be subject to such stop transfer orders and other restrictions as the Committee may deem advisable under the Plan or the rules, regulations, and other requirements of the SEC, any stock exchange upon which such Units or other securities are then listed, and any applicable federal or state laws, and the Committee may cause a legend or legends to be inscribed on any such certificates to make appropriate reference to such restrictions.
     (v) Consideration for Grants. Awards may be granted for such consideration, including services, as the Committee shall determine.

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     (vi) Delivery of Units or other Securities and Payment by Participant of Consideration. Notwithstanding anything in the Plan or any Award Agreement to the contrary, delivery of Units pursuant to the exercise or vesting of an Award may be deferred for any period during which, in the good faith determination of the Committee, the General Partner is not reasonably able to obtain Units to deliver pursuant to such Award without violating applicable law or the applicable rules or regulations of any governmental agency or authority or securities exchange. No Units or other securities shall be delivered pursuant to any Award until payment in full of any amount required to be paid pursuant to the Plan or the applicable Award Agreement (including, without limitation, any exercise price or tax withholding) is received by the General Partner.
     (vii) Change of Control. Unless specifically provided otherwise in the Award Agreement, upon a Change of Control all outstanding Awards shall automatically vest and be payable at their maximum level (all performance criteria, if any, shall be deemed fully achieved at the maximum level) or become exercisable in full, as the case may be.
     SECTION 7. Amendment and Termination.
     Except to the extent prohibited by applicable law:
     (a) Amendments to the Plan. Except as required by the rules of the principal securities exchange on which the Units are traded and subject to Section 7(b) below, the Board may amend, alter, suspend, discontinue, or terminate the Plan in any manner, including increasing the number of Units available for Awards under the Plan, without the consent of any partner, Participant, other holder or beneficiary of an Award, or any other Person.
     (b) Amendments to Awards. Subject to Section 7(a), the Committee may waive any conditions or rights under, amend any terms of, or alter any Award theretofore granted, provided no change, other than pursuant to Section 7(c), in any Award shall materially reduce the benefit to a Participant without the consent of such Participant.
     (c) Actions Upon the Occurrence of Certain Events. Upon the occurrence of a Change of Control, any change in applicable law or regulation affecting the Plan or Awards thereunder, or any change in accounting principles affecting the financial statements of the Partnership, the Committee, in its sole discretion and on such terms and conditions as it deems appropriate, may take any one or more of the following actions in order to prevent dilution or enlargement of the benefits or potential benefits intended to be made available under the Plan or an outstanding Award:
     (A) provide for either (i) the termination of any Award in exchange for an amount of cash, if any, equal to the amount that would have been attained upon the exercise of such Award or realization of the Participant’s rights (and, for the avoidance of doubt, if as of the date of the occurrence of such transaction or event the Committee determines in good faith that no amount would have been attained upon the exercise of such Award or realization of the Participant’s rights, then such Award may be terminated by the Company without payment) or (ii) the

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replacement of such Award with other rights or property selected by the Committee in its sole discretion;
     (B) provide that such Award be assumed by the successor or survivor entity, or a parent or subsidiary thereof, or be exchanged for similar options, rights or awards covering the equity of the successor or survivor, or a parent or subsidiary thereof, with appropriate adjustments as to the number and kind of equity interests and prices;
     (C) make adjustments in the number and type of Units (or other securities or property) subject to outstanding Awards, and in the number and kind of outstanding Awards and/or in the terms and conditions of (including the exercise price), and the vesting and performance criteria included in, outstanding Awards, or both;
     (D) provide that such Award shall be exercisable or payable, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Plan or the applicable Award Agreement; and
     (E) provide that the Award cannot be exercised or become payable after such event, i.e., shall terminate upon such event.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, with respect to an above event that is also described in Section 4(c), the mandatory adjustment provisions in Section 4(c) shall control to the extent they are in conflict with the discretionary provisions of this Section 7 if the exercise of such discretion would result in adverse compensation charges to the Partnership for accounting purposes.
        SECTION 8. General Provisions.
     (a) No Rights to Award. No Person shall have any claim to be granted any Award under the Plan, and there is no obligation for uniformity of treatment of Participants. The terms and conditions of Awards need not be the same with respect to each recipient.
     (b) Tax Withholding. Unless other arrangements have been made that are acceptable to the General Partner or an Affiliate, the Partnership or Affiliate is authorized to withhold from any Award, from any payment due or transfer made under any Award or from any compensation or other amount owing to a Participant the amount (in cash, Units, Units that would otherwise be issued pursuant to such Award or other property) of any applicable taxes payable in respect of the grant of an Award, its exercise, the lapse of restrictions thereon, or any payment or transfer under an Award or under the Plan and to take such other action as may be necessary in the opinion of the General Partner or Affiliate to satisfy its withholding obligations for the payment of such taxes.
     (c) No Right to Employment or Services. The grant of an Award shall not be construed as giving a Participant the right to be retained in the employ of the General Partner or any Affiliate or to remain on the Board, as applicable. Furthermore, the General Partner or an Affiliate may at any time dismiss a Participant from employment free from any liability or any

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claim under the Plan, unless otherwise expressly provided in the Plan, any Award Agreement or other agreement.
     (d) Governing Law. The validity, construction, and effect of the Plan and any rules and regulations relating to the Plan shall be determined in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas without regard to its conflicts of laws principles.
     (e) Severability. If any provision of the Plan or any Award is or becomes or is deemed to be invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any jurisdiction or as to any Person or Award, or would disqualify the Plan or any Award under any law deemed applicable by the Committee, such provision shall be construed or deemed amended to conform to the applicable law or, if it cannot be construed or deemed amended without, in the determination of the Committee, materially altering the intent of the Plan or the Award, such provision shall be stricken as to such jurisdiction, Person or Award and the remainder of the Plan and any such Award shall remain in full force and effect.
     (f) Other Laws. The Committee may refuse to issue or transfer any Units or other consideration under an Award if, in its sole discretion, it determines that the issuance or transfer of such Units or such other consideration might violate any applicable law or regulation, the rules of the principal securities exchange on which the Units are then traded, or entitle the Partnership or an Affiliate to recover the same under Section 16(b) of the Exchange Act, and any payment tendered to the General Partner by a Participant, other holder or beneficiary in connection with the exercise of such Award shall be promptly refunded to the relevant Participant, holder or beneficiary.
     (g) No Trust or Fund Created. Neither the Plan nor any Award shall create or be construed to create a trust or separate fund of any kind or a fiduciary relationship between the General Partner or any Affiliate and a Participant or any other Person. To the extent that any Person acquires a right to receive payments from the General Partner or any Affiliate pursuant to an Award, such right shall be no greater than the right of any general unsecured creditor of the General Partner or such Affiliate.
     (h) No Fractional Units. No fractional Units shall be issued or delivered pursuant to the Plan or any Award, and the Committee shall determine whether cash, other securities, or other property shall be paid or transferred in lieu of any fractional Units or whether such fractional Units or any rights thereto shall be canceled, terminated, or otherwise eliminated.
     (i) Headings. Headings are given to the Sections and subsections of the Plan solely as a convenience to facilitate reference. Such headings shall not be deemed in any way material or relevant to the construction or interpretation of the Plan or any provision thereof.
     (j) Facility Payment. Any amounts payable hereunder to any person under legal disability or who, in the judgment of the Committee, is unable to manage properly his financial affairs, may be paid to the legal representative of such person, or may be applied for the benefit of such person in any manner that the Committee may select, and the General Partner shall be relieved of any further liability for payment of such amounts.

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     (k) Participation by Affiliates. In making Awards to Employees employed by an entity other than the General Partner, the Committee shall be acting on behalf of the Affiliate, and to the extent the Partnership has an obligation to reimburse the Affiliate for compensation paid for services rendered for the benefit of the Partnership, such payments or reimbursement payments may be made by the Partnership directly to the Affiliate.
     (l) Gender and Number. Words in the masculine gender shall include the feminine gender, the plural shall include the singular and the singular shall include the plural.
     SECTION 9. Term of the Plan.
     The Plan shall be effective on the date of its approval by the Board and shall continue until the earliest of (i) the date terminated by the Board, (ii) all Units available under the Plan have been paid to Participants, or (iii) the 10th anniversary of the date the Plan is approved by the Board. Unless otherwise expressly provided in the Plan or in an applicable Award Agreement, however, any Award granted prior to such termination, and the authority of the Committee to amend, alter, adjust, suspend, discontinue, or terminate any such Award or to waive any conditions or rights under such Award, shall extend beyond such termination date.

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