US Huntsman to pay $33m to settle isocyanates price-fixing suit

07 June 2011 22:21  [Source: ICIS news]

Huntsman to pay $33m in lawsuitHOUSTON (ICIS)--Huntsman had no comment on Tuesday regarding its proposal to pay $33m (€23m) to settle a US class-action lawsuit, which accused the company of fixing prices on isocyanates and other feedstock for polyurethane foam.

In proposing the settlement, Huntsman denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, the isocyanate customers said in court documents. Instead, Huntsman chose to settle the lawsuit to avoid the expense of fighting the case in court.

The court still needs to approve the settlement.

US-based Huntsman's proposed payment will represent 1.4% of its sales to the class-action customers during the time covered by the lawsuit, they said.

Netherlands-based LyondellBasell has also proposed settling the lawsuit, the customers said. However, it would pay nothing.

"As we said from day one, Lyondell did not engage in any unlawful conduct as alleged in this suit," said David Harpole, spokesman.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004, and it accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell of fixing prices. The complaint covered propylene oxide (PO) based polyether polyols; methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI); and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) that were purchased from 1 January 1999 through 31 December 2004.

In 2006, Bayer agreed to paid $55.3m to settle the allegations.  

In 2008, the court granted the complaint class-action status. Dow and BASF are still fighting the class-action lawsuit.

Two groups of customers decided that they would not join the class-action lawsuit. Instead, they filed their own lawsuits against BASF, Dow, Huntsman and LyondellBasell.

These non-class lawsuits are still pending against BASF, Dow and Huntsman. LyondellBasell settled these by paying nothing.

A separate price-fixing lawsuit had been filed against many of the isocyanates customers. These customers used the isocyanates as feedstock to produce polyurethane foam.

The buyers of polyurethane foam accused the producers of fixing prices. That lawsuit is still pending in court.

($1 = €0.69)

For more on TDI or MDI visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more on Huntsman or LyondellBasell visit ICIS company intelligence


By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645



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