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Halliburton Asbestos Settlement Is OKd

From Bloomberg News

Halliburton Co., the world’s largest oil field services company, said a bankruptcy judge Monday approved a $1.5-billion settlement between two of its subsidiaries and insurers over asbestos claims.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald in Pittsburgh approved the settlement between Halliburton’s DII Industries and Kellogg Brown & Root and more than 150 insurance companies, according to a statement released by Halliburton.

Bankruptcy Court approval clears the way for Halliburton to complete a $4.8-billion plan to settle all current and future asbestos claims.

The settlement resolves a dispute between Halliburton and insurers over how much the company was entitled to for asbestos liability. It is the result of decades of litigation and two years of mediation, Halliburton attorneys said when Fitzgerald tentatively approved the agreement Nov. 18.

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According to the company’s statement, agreements were reached with more than 100 solvent and insolvent London-based insurance companies, more than 50 domestic insurance companies and other companies with which DII shares insurance coverage.

“This is clearly one of the concluding steps toward permanently resolving our asbestos and silica liability that will provide payments to the impaired claimants,” said Halliburton Chairman Dave Lesar in the statement.

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, didn’t return a request for further comment.

Shares of Houston-based Halliburton rose 25 cents to $40.96 on the New York Stock Exchange. The news was released after the markets closed.

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DII and Kellogg Brown filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2003 to win court approval of settlements with more than 400,000 people claiming injuries caused by asbestos or silica exposure.

The company agreed to pay $2.78 billion in cash, 59.5 million shares of common stock and notes worth $54 million to settle 462,000 current and future claims.


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