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Huntsman to Pay $33M to Settle Suit

Friday, June 17, 2011

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Chemical conglomerate Huntsman International LLC has agreed to pay $33 million to settle competitors’ allegations of price fixing on raw materials used in coatings, adhesives and other materials, published reports say.

The settlement was signed just before Jon Huntsman Jr. confirmed that he would declare his candidacy for president in 2012, according to documents provided to the Associated Press.

 Huntsman International

 Huntsman International

Paint, coatings and industrial applications make up Huntsman’s largest end markets.

The lawsuit, filed in 2004, accused Huntsman, Bayer, BASF, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell of fixing prices on urethanes, according to ICIS News, which serves the global chemical industry.

6 Years of Sales Cited

The complaint involved sales of propylene oxide (PO)-based polyether polyols; methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI); and toluene di-isocyanate (TDI) from Jan. 1, 1999, through Dec. 31, 2004, according to ICIS.

In 2006, Bayer paid $55.3 million to settle the allegations; in 2008, the court granted the complaint class-action status, ICIS reported. Dow and BASF are still fighting the class-action lawsuit. Netherlands-based LyondellBasell favors settling the suit but would pay nothing to do so, ICIS reported.

Huntsman would admit no wrongdoing in the settlement, which still requires the approval of a federal judge in Kansas.

Coatings Market Served

Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals for a variety of global industries; paint and coatings and industrial applications make up its largest end markets.

The company has about 12,000 employees worldwide and had 2010 revenues of more than $9 billion, with 38% coming from polyurethanes.

Coating manufacturers worldwide have been walloped in recent years by the skyrocketing cost of raw materials, which has led to higher coatings prices across the industry and a global scramble for alternative materials.

Huntsman Plans Presidential Run

Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, has said that he will formally announce his candidacy for president on Tuesday (June 21).

 Jon Huntsman Jr.
Jon Huntsman Jr. was not involved in settling the price-fixing claims, a spokesman said.
 
Huntsman Corp., founded by Huntsman’s father, is the parent company of Huntsman International. The younger Huntsman was vice chairman of the Huntsman Corp. board from 1993 to 2001; he was chairman and CEO of Huntsman Family Holdings Co. in 2003 and 2004.

Spokesmen for Huntsman Jr. and Huntsman Corp. both said Jon Huntsman Jr. had had no direct involvement with Huntsman International.

No Involvement

Gary Chapman, vice president for global communications of Huntsman Corp., told Utah’s Salt Lake Tribune that the Salt Lake-based company decided to settle the claim rather than face the cost and uncertainty of litigation.

“And this settlement allows the management to focus their full attention on running the business,” he said.

Chapman told the Associated Press that Huntsman, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, “has not been involved in the lawsuit in any way.”

News of the settlement was handed to The Associated Press by a Democratic political group called the American Bridge 21st Century, the AP said, and came the day after Huntsman said he would officially jump into the presidential race.

   

Tagged categories: BASF; Bayer; Dow Chemical Company; Huntsman; Laws and litigation; Raw materials

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