Dallas-based Halliburton Co. will pay about $4 billion in cash and stock to settle the thousands of asbestos claims against it. According to company, it has agreed to a proposed settlement that includes up to $2.8 billion in cash, 59.5 million shares and notes with a net present value of nearly $100 million.
The multibillion-dollar deal would resolve around 300,000 asbestos-related personal injury claims against the company, some of which from Harbison-Walker Refractories Co., a former unit of Halliburton subsidiary Dresser Industries that has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Current and future asbestos claims would be covered under the plan, and it fully and permanently resolves all personal injury asbestos liability. Additionally, it provides that Halliburton retains 100 percent ownership of Dresser Industries (DII), Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) and other subsidiaries.
“This agreement in principle represents good news for our shareholders, customers, vendors, employees, and everyone else with whom we do business,” stated Dave Lesar, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Halliburton. “If this transaction is completed, it will resolve a major issue that has been clouding our future. Not only have we taken care to responsibly provide for those affected by asbestos, this settlement will allow us to concentrate all our efforts on increasing shareholder value, and our total focus can return to Halliburton’s core businesses. While I am pleased with the progress on the settlement we have made, I must caution that there is much work to be done.”
Agreement will be implemented through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing for DII and KBR, and certain of their subsidiaries. DII and KBR will retain rights to the first $2.3 billion of any insurance proceeds.
Halliburton Company, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., Landmark Graphics Corporation, KBR’s U.S. government operations business and most other Halliburton subsidiaries will not be included in the filing.
Halliburton said the settlement was reached with attorneys representing substantially more than the required 75 percent of the known present asbestos claimants needed to achieve resolution on all of the cases
The filing will occur when Halliburton obtains financing commitments. The company said it is working with leading Wall Street banks and advisors in this regard. Final agreement and completion are subject to the resolution of numerous issues in addition to financing, including Halliburton board approval and final court approval.
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