Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Asbestos liability fund

W.R. Grace & Co., a Maryland-based specialty-chemical company, said yesterday that it has put $250 million into a trust fund to distribute among people who have been injured by asbestos contamination.

The fund has been created as part of a settlement with the tort lawyers. Further, it will receive cash and stock under separate litigation settlements with two companies that got into liability trouble as a result of buying assets spun-off from W.R. Grace: Sealed Air Corp. and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc.

This settlement is the latest evidence that the world can wag in its own way quite well, without central planners, once cries of "global crisis" are set aside, efforts at a global solution are set aside as well, and the piecemeal efforts have time and space to bear fruit.

If it sounds to my regular readers that you've read this before ... you have. I said much the same thing in January, in reaction to a similar bit of news. In January, Federal-Mogul of Michigan, a company that like Grace, had entered bankruptcy court protection largely because of its asbestosis liabilities, emerged from that umbrella re-organized. Here's a link.

Grace is still under the umbrella. Indeed, it hasn't even worked out a plan of reorganization yet, though it hopes to have one ready by the end of this year.

Slow and steady, like the turtle.

No comments: