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Australian regulator takes action on asbestos fund


SYDNEY, Australia— The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has started legal proceedings against several former and current executives of James Hardie Industries N.V. related to the company's asbestos compensation fund.

Building materials company James Hardie, which formerly was based in Australia and now is in incorporated in the Netherlands, set up a fund in 2001 to compensate people who contracted asbestos-related diseases from contact with it products.

ASIC has begun civil proceedings in the New South Wales Supreme Court related to disclosures made by the company about the adequacy of that fund, known as the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation.

ASIC alleges that certain executives of the company did not act with the requisite care and diligence when making certain statements about the adequacy of the MRCF, and ongoing asbestos-related liabilities faced by the company.