PPG settles antitrust suit

PPG Industries Inc. reached a USD 60 million settlement on an antitrust suit over glass prices dating from 1997, said one of the co-lead counsels for the plaintiffs.
The Pittsburgh-based glass, chemi…

PPG Industries Inc. reached a USD 60 million settlement on an antitrust suit over glass prices dating from 1997, said one of the co-lead counsels for the plaintiffs. The Pittsburgh-based glass, chemical and coatings manufacturer did not make a separate announcement about the class-action settlement and made only brief mention of it in its 3Q earnings report on 20 October 2005. But Robert Kaplan, of Kaplan Fox Kilsheimer LLP in New York, said that the settlement was agreed in the US Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania and that he would file for preliminary approval soon. The suit was first brought in 1997 against PPG, UK glass maker Pilkington PLC, and other glass manufacturers, alleging price-fixing. The class affected by the settlement are businesses that purchased glass from or through PPG from August 1991 through 31 December 1995, Kaplan said. Pilkington and other defendants had earlier settled for USD 61 million, and PPG was granted a summary judgment. But PPG continued to pursue the case in courts, including an appeal to the US Supreme Court, which was rejected in late March 2005. Kaplan said the matter had been scheduled to go to trial on 9 January. Releasing earnings on 20 October 2005, PPG said in a footnote that it took net pretax charges of USD 58 million for net legal settlements. PPG spokesman Jeff Worden said the charges associated with the antitrust settlement are included in the USD 58 million charge. However, he said he was not in a position to confirm the specific antitrust settlement charge. Worden also said he was not in a position to give any more information about the case, including whether the company had previously reserved for the charge.