BASF disputes Brazil court contamination ruling

04 July 2012 13:57  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--BASF said late on Tuesday that it disputes the ruling by a Brazilian judge that the Germany-based producer and Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell must pay $382m (€302m) compensation to 1,142 former employees, dependents and third-party contractors which were allegedly contaminated at a chemical plant in Brazil.

“BASF does not agree with this decision and will continue to seek legal advice,” the company said. “BASF remains confident that the higher courts will resolve the situation.”

The ruling is the latest in a series of court proceedings that began five years ago when BASF and Shell were accused of contamination at a plant in Paulinia, 102km north of Sao Paulo.

Prosecutors have claimed that former employees at the plant have shown health problems including prostate cancer, problems with short-term memory and issues with their thyroid gland.

According to BASF’s 2011 annual report, the Paulinia unit was built by Shell, sold to Cyanamid in 1995 and then acquired by BASF after the acquisition of Cyanamid in 2000.

In the report, BASF acknowledged that the site was “significantly contaminated by the production of crop protection products.”

However, the contamination stems from the period before 2000, the report states.

Shell declined to comment on Tuesday.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Simon West

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