Trial begins in US case accusing Dow of isocyanates price-fixing

23 January 2013 17:19  [Source: ICIS news]

Trial begins in US case accusing Dow of isocyanates price-fixingHOUSTON (ICIS)--A trial began on Wednesday in a long-running class-action lawsuit that accuses US-based Dow Chemical of fixing prices for isocyanates.

Dow is the last company defending itself against the lawsuit, which was filed in 2004 in US District Court in Kansas.

The lawsuit accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell of fixing prices for propylene oxide (PO)-based polyether polyols, methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) that were purchased between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2004.

In 2006, Bayer agreed to pay $55.3m (€41.5m) to settle the suit's allegations against it.  

In 2011, Huntsman agreed to pay $33m and BASF agreed to pay $51m. LyondellBasell managed to settle the case for nothing.

The court has approved all of the settlements, leaving Dow as the lone producer fighting the class-action lawsuit.

Dow did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in the past, Dow has said that it would aggressively defend itself.

"Dow disputes the contention that we did anything improper," the company said in an earlier statement.

Some of the plaintiffs in the isocyanates litigation are themselves defendants in another price-fixing case.

In this case, the defendants used isocyanates to make polyurethane (PU) foam, which was then sold to bed and furniture makers.

In the lawsuit, the foam producers are accused of fixing prices for finished polyurethane foam.

So far, one of the foam makers has reached a settlement. Under it, Vitafoam would pay up to $15m. In settling the lawsuit, Vitafoam denied all allegations that it had done anything wrong.

The charges against foam producers Otto Bock and Plastomer were dismissed.

Valle Foam, one of Canada’s largest PU foam producers, has filed for creditor protection.

Others foam makers entangled in the lawsuit include Carpenter, Flexible Foam Products, Future Foam, FXI - Foamex Innovations, Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Leggett & Platt, Mohawk Industries, Scottdel and the Woodbridge Group.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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