home click for info


Austria's RHI settles legal dispute with Halliburton
Tuesday April 13, 9:06 am ET

VIENNA, April 13 (Reuters) - Austrian fireproof-materials maker RHI has agreed to settle a legal dispute with a unit of Halliburton Co over Chapter 11 proceedings and asbestos-related lawsuits, RHI said on Tuesday.

RHI, which is ploughing through its third year of restructuring after it split from its U.S. divisions, said there was advantage to quickly resolving the case.

It added the settlement would not hurt the company. "No burdens on the results will arise from these agreements for RHI," the company said in a statement.

Under the deal, which is subject to approval by U.S. authorities, Halliburton unit DII (formerly Dresser) Industries will pay RHI $10 million rather than the $120 million originally agreed two years ago, RHI Chief Executive Helmut Draxler said.

The RHI U.S. units, some of which it bought from DII Industries, and some from Honeywell, were targeted by asbestos-related lawsuits in 2001 and are currently under Chapter 11 protection from creditors.

RHI said last year it would take legal action to recover $35 million it said it was owed by Halliburton under a 2002 agreement that was part of the Chapter 11 proceedings. A further payment of $85 million under the agreement would have been due at the end of legal proceedings, RHI said.

"It is a bigger advantage if the case comes to an end quickly," Drexler said.

The agreement, if authorised, would end RHI's and its divisions' liability in any asbstos-related lawsuits brought against the U.S. units, RHI said.

The deal was, however, conditional on Honeywell also paying RHI $60 million under a similar 2002 agreement.

"A condition to the settlement agreement is a $60 million payment by Honeywell International Inc. to RHI Refractories Holding under a prior contract," RHI said.

By 1224 GMT, RHI shares had risen four percent to 19.50 euros in a slightly firmer broader market.