Viacom Pays $21 Million in Asbestos Claims

Bloomberg News

Viacom Inc., owner of the CBS television network, said it spent $21 million in asbestos-related litigation claims last year.

Viacom listed the total cost of settlement and defense of asbestos-related claims in its quarterly 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Viacom’s “reserves and insurance are adequate to cover its asbestos liabilities,” the company said.

Asbestos was used in products made before 1970 by some of the industrial units of Westinghouse Electric Corp., which acquired CBS in 1995. Westinghouse changed its name to CBS Corp. and was bought by Viacom in 2000. Viacom said it sold all its businesses that used asbestos.

The company has about 115,000 pending asbestos-related claims as of March 31, 2002, the filing said. It received 11,000 new claims in the first quarter of this year and settled about 2,000 claims.