Imerys, the talc mining giant and supplier of J&J, has put its North America subsidiaries on the market in order to escape further litigation from asbestos-related lawsuits.
The Reorganization Plan will apply to Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada, which filed for bankruptcy last year, and – since being named in new US lawsuits – Imerys Talc Italy.
Upon US court approval, proceeds of the sale will be channeled into an independent trust to compensate claimants and in return, Imerys will be released from all existing and future talc-related liabilities from its subsidiaries’ operations.
“This is a significant step in the North America Talc Subsidiaries’ path towards emergence from chapter 11,” said Giorgio La Motta, Imerys Talc America, Imerys Talc Vermont and Imerys Talc Canada President.
“The plan represents a favourable outcome for the North America talc subsidiaries’ stakeholders and will enable us to move forward free of historic talc-related liabilities.”
Shares in Imerys surged after the plan was announced.
The French-based J&J talc supplier is expecting to receive confirmation of the plan and emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of 2020.
The deal is an attempt to end six years of litigation that it has been embroiled in, as the sole talc supplier for personal care giant J&J.
According to Bloomberg Quint, in 2018 Imerys agreed to pay US$5.5m prior to trial to settle claims from 22 women, who alleged that its asbestos-contaminated talc caused them to develop ovarian cancer.
In the same case, J&J was ordered to pay $4.7bn in damages to the complainants.
Read more about the asbestos-related cases via the links below.
- J&J ordered to pay $750m in latest asbestos talc payout
- J&J recalls baby powder after deadly asbestos discovery
- Johnson & Johnson slapped with $37.3m fine over cancer causing asbestos claims
- Johnson & Johnson tells jury talc products “never” contained asbestos