Imerys announced on May 15 that it had reached agreement on a plan to end the [ talcum powder – asbestos litigation ] that resulted in the Chapter 11 (receivership) placement of its North American subsidiaries Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada. The group had announced at the end of 2018 that these three subsidiaries, representing around 3% of turnover, had placed themselves under the protection of “Chapter 11” to settle their historic disputes.
Talc, used in particular for infants, but also by certain women on their genitals to reduce humidity and odors, is at the heart of [ talcum powder – asbestos litigation ] in the United States where women accuse the product – and its producers Imerys and Johnson & Johnson – for causing cancer. In addition, Imerys had recognized in 2019 that the shutdown of its Willsboro plant was linked to the discovery of traces of asbestos in certain products.
The agreement announced on May 15 provides for a restructuring plan, filed with the federal district court of Delaware, where the procedure of “chapter 11” is underway for the three North American talc subsidiaries of the group. “Once the necessary approvals have been obtained, the Talc subsidiaries will exit from the” Chapter 11 “regime and the group will be released from all existing and future liabilities linked to the past activities of the Talc subsidiaries, these liabilities being transferred to a trust specially created for this purpose. effect, “said Imerys in a statement.
The approval process for this plan, negotiated with representatives of the court-appointed plaintiffs, requires a qualified majority vote of [ talcum powder – asbestos litigation ] plaintiffs. Then this approval must be confirmed by the competent American courts. Imerys is hoping for final approval within a timeframe that would allow its affected affiliates to exit Chapter 11 before the end of 2020. These affiliates, which generated revenues of $ 162 million and an Ebitda of 34 million dollars in 2019, will have to sell their assets.
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