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CSR, ACE settle asbestos claim dispute for $120M


CHATSWOOD, Australia--CSR Ltd. has reached a $120 million settlement with Bermuda-based ACE Ltd. in connection with U.S. asbestos claims to end longstanding litigation against numerous insurers in the matter, CSR said Wednesday.

CSR said it began litigation in 1995 in federal court in New Jersey against a number of insurers seeking indemnity for U.S. asbestos claims, together with other damages and relief, under policies issued to the building products and sugar supplier from about 1978 to 1989.

CSR formerly mined asbestos in western Australian and manufactured various products, many of which were exported to the United States.

CSR said the ACE settlement concludes claims against all defendants in the New Jersey litigation except those that the firm believes are insolvent.

CSR announced in April that it had reached a settlement with 48 Australian and European insurers in the asbestos dispute. Under terms of that settlement, CSR said the insurers would pay it about $75.6 million.

In addition, CSR in 2004 said it had reached a $32 million settlement deal with a group of Lloyd's of London underwriters reinsured by Equitas Ltd., the runoff reinsurer for Lloyd's syndicates' pre-1993 long-tail liabilities.

"We are pleased to have achieved a commercial resolution with ACE," said Alec Brennan, CSR's chief executive officer and managing director, in the Wednesday statement. "Since commencing this litigation in 1995, settlements have totaled $279 million before legal costs."

CSR said the latest settlement, which amounts to $103 million net of litigation costs, will be recorded as a significant item in its results for the year ending March 31, 2007.