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Judge approves Equitas asbestos settlement.

A bankruptcy judge has approved the $575 million asbestos-claims settlement between Halliburton Co. and Equitas, but it's not a done deal because the arrangement depends on Halliburton subsidiaries receiving approval for their bankruptcy plan and Congress not having passed a federal asbestos bill.

Judge Judith Fitzgerald of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh, who also ruled in February that insurers have no standing in Halliburton's bankruptcy petition, approved the Halliburton-Equitas plan March 10.

The settlement is part of the $2.3 billion that Halliburton expects insurers to contribute toward its $4.2 billion asbestos trust fund--a "global settlement" designed to pay all of Halliburton's asbestos liabilities and improve its stock price.

This Equitas agreement settles all asbestos claims by Halliburton and its subsidiaries involved in the Chapter 11 plan, against certain underwriters at Lloyd's that were reinsured by Equitas, the runoff vehicle for the market's pre-1993 liabilities.

But Halliburton, which provides products and services to the petroleum and energy industries, has other claims against London market insurers that it has said aren't affected by this settlement.
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Author:Kelly, Dennis
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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