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March 23, 2005

Additional $232M paid into trust fund

Engineering firm reorganizes to resolve claims over asbestos

ZURICH

ABB Ltd., the Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering giant, said Monday it has reached an agreement to reorganize two of its subsidiaries to resolve asbestos claims against the company.

ABB will pay an additional $232 million (U.S.) into a trust fund to settle outstanding claims under an amended plan to reorganize its Combustion Engineering and Lummus subsidiaries, the company said.

ABB has been involved in a decade-long courtroom battle with people who claim to have been exposed to ABB products. The new plan should fully address issues raised in a December 2004 judgment by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, as well as objections raised by some asbestos claimants, the company said.

The appellate court had rejected ABB’s petition to include its Lummus and Basic Industries units in the company’s overall $1.2-billion asbestos-claims settlement plan, which centres on its subsidiary Combustion Engineering. All three are based in the United States.

“I am pleased that the co-operative efforts of the parties involved have resulted in a commonly agreed proposal for an amended plan in this short period of time,’’ said ABB president and CEO Fred Kindle.

“This agreement is a vital step towards a final resolution of our asbestos issue.’’

ABB said it will raise funds for its additional contribution from the sale of Lummus assets. It will publish revised 2004 results to incorporate the impact of the amended plan.

The Associated Press

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