Corning has no plans to settle asbestos claims

A day after PPG Industries, Inc. announced one of the largest asbestos settlements in US history relating to an affiliated company, Corning, Inc. said it is not liable for its stake in that venture an…

A day after PPG Industries, Inc. announced one of the largest asbestos settlements in US history relating to an affiliated company, Corning, Inc. said it is not liable for its stake in that venture and had no current plans to make a similar settlement. fibre-optic cable manufacturer Corning owned a 50% stake in Pittsburgh Corning while PPG owned the other half, but Corning spokesman Dan Collins said the Corning, New-York-based company was only a passive investor. He said Corning is still mulling its options regarding the asbestos lawsuits against it. Corning took an after-tax charge of US$ 36 million in the first quarter of 2000 to write off its entire stake in Pittsburgh Corning, he said. Chemical and paint maker PPG said on 14 May that it has agreed to turn over US$ 2.7 billion to people injured by asbestos made by Pittsburgh Corning, which made pipe insulation years ago and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2000. PPG said it expects to take an after-tax charge of US$ 500 million to cover its share of the associated costs – one of the largest corporate asbestos charges – while a group of more than 30 insurers will pay the rest. Asbestos was once widely used for fireproofing and insulation, but scientists concluded in the 1960s and 1970s that inhaled asbestos fibres could cause lung cancer and other diseases. It is still used to manufacture about 3,000 products, most involving in building and construction. PPG“s deal is the latest sign of an explosion of asbestos-related legal claims, which may cost US companies more than US$ 200 billion in all, according to analysts. The problem has battered many of the most recognized manufacturing names in the US, pushing several into bankruptcy as claims multiply. Chubb Corp., one of the leading US business insurers, said it would pay out up to US$ 34 million as its share of the PPG asbestos settlement. The Warren, New Jersey-based company said it had already set aside money in anticipation of the PPG settlement, so payment would not impact future earnings.