Another asbestos company exits bankruptcy

ABB Ltd said no appeals had been filed by an end-March deadline against a reorganisation plan for its US unit CE, meaning the plan is final and effectively drawing a line under a damaging 16 year legal battle over asbestos compensation for the Swiss/Swedish engineering group.

‘This is a milestone in the history of ABB,’ CEO Fred Kindle said in a statement Saturday. ‘We are very glad to have a resolution of this important issue, which removes significant uncertainty that has harmed ABB over the years.’

Under the plan, which will protect ABB and its subsidiaries against current and future asbestos claims, ABB has committed 1.43 bln usd to a trust fund for asbestos claims against CE (Combustion Engineering).

A US District Court approved the plan on Feb 28 but the ruling was subject to a 30-day appeals period, which has now passed.

CE built industrial boilers insulated with asbestos, which can cause long-term damage to the lungs, including cancer, and when it took over the US company in 1990, ABB inherited lawsuits from thousands of employees.