Asbestos Trust Established in ASARCO Buyout

Assets held by copper producer ASARCO LLC, based in Tuscon, Arizona, are being bought by Sterilite Industries Ltd. The India based Sterlite will pay $2.6 billion for ASARCO’s assets. ASARCO filed for bankruptcy in 2005 via its parent company, Grupo Mexico SAB. Creditor claims against ASARCO will be fulfilled according to the parameters of the bankruptcy agreement. Plans for payment to creditors of asbestos claims against ASARCO have been made, either immediately or in the near future. This includes two main creditor groups: those with personal injury asbestos claims and those with environmental claims made against the company.

In order to do this, an Asbestos Trust will be created to make payments on unsettled asbestos claims. Up to $750 million will be paid to each of two groups for asbestos claims. Both creditors will also receive up to $102 million each from leftover funds. Payment of asbestos claims against ASARCO will be the sole responsibility of the Asbestos Trust fund. The Asbestos Trust established will also be responsible for Covington Land Co., a branch of ASARCO, which will own land to produce income. The Asbestos Trust establishment ensures that damages assigned to ASARCO from lawsuits will not be overlooked amidst the buyout. The reorganization and buyout plan is pending an assessment hearing from a bankruptcy judge on September 23, 2008. The plan will be submitted for final approval at a November 17th, 2008 hearing.