UpdateBASF denies US price-fixing claims in $51m settlement

22 September 2011 22:16  [Source: ICIS news]

A BASF tank(adds paragraphs 1, 3)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A BASF spokeswoman denied on Thursday the price-fixing allegations made in a US class-action lawsuit, repeating statements the company made in a proposed agreement to settle the isocyanates litigation for $51m (€37m).

According to the proposed agreement filed in court, BASF said it was confident about its ability to challenge the claims, but it agreed to settle the case to avoid the cost, inconvenience and distractions that would come with prolonging the litigation.

In addition, pre-trial discovery had not substantiated any wrong doing by the BASF urethanes business, according to a statement by Betsy Arnone, a BASF spokeswoman.

The proposal is pending approval in the US District Court, district of Kansas.

If approved, Dow Chemical will be the sole producer fighting the price-fixing lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in 2004, and it accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow 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.

Earlier this year, Huntsman agreed to pay $33m to settle the lawsuit.

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

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

In all, the isocyanates customers have reached $139.3m in settlements with the producers.

Meanwhile, a separate price-fixing lawsuit has 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 US District Court, northern Ohio district.

($1 = €0.73)

For more on TDI or MDI visit ICIS chemical intelligence
For more on BASF and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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