January 22, 2003 - Honeywell Points to Asbestos Accords

Honeywell International Inc. on Friday, Jan. 17, revealed that it had reached agreements with about 90% of 260,000 plaintiffs suing the company for asbestos contamination allegedly caused by its former North American Refractories Co. subsidiary.

But the Morristown, N.J., defense and industrial products giant declined to disclose how much money it would contribute to the settlement.

Instead, Honeywell spokesman Rich Silverman pointed to past statements which said that any asbestos settlements would include insurance policies worth about $2 billion of coverage remaining for Narco-related asbestos claims.

The company also said it plans to take a $900 million after-tax charge for the settlement at a Friday hearing on the Chapter 11 case of Narco in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh.

During the court session, Judge Judith Fitzgerald approved an extended stay on asbestos lawsuits against Honeywell until Feb. 18.

"The stay reflects the continued progress of negotiations between Honeywell and the court-appointed asbestos creditors' committee and between Honeywell and the law firms reprsenting the vast majority of existing claimants," the company said in a press release.

Narco, once a unit of Honeywell, filed for bankruptcy last February along with Harbison-Walker Refractories Corp. and other units of Austrian heat-resistant products maker RHI AG.

In December, Halliburton Co. reached a settlement with the asbestos plaintiffs in the Harbison-Walker case worth $4 billion.

Harbison-Walker was once a part of Dresser Industries, now a subsidiary of Halliburton.

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