Swedish firm named in 68 lawsuits

  • 2002-11-07

Swedish engineering and packaging company Alfa Laval AB said this week it had been named as a co-defendant in 68 asbestos-related cases in the United States representing some 7,500 plaintiffs.

But the company rejected the claims and said it did not believe the litigation would have any "material adverse effect" on its financial results or condition.

Patrik Sjoblom, engineering sector analyst at Nordea, said he accepted the company's statement but added that investor confidence had been badly hurt by its failure to disclose its involvement in U.S. asbestos lawsuits at the time of its initial public offering last May.

"I accept the company's point that they have a very peripheral role in these litigation cases, that there are no major financial repercussions, and that their provisions are sufficient to cover any costs that may arise. The company itself is fine."

Alfa Laval said it had been aware of 11 of the lawsuits last May 20. The company made its initial public offering to the market in May and was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange on May 17.

"Alfa Laval strongly believes the claims against the company are without merit and intends to vigorously contest each lawsuit," the company said.

The claims were lodged against a U.S. subsidiary of Alfa Laval, Alfa Laval Incorporated, and relate to exposure to asbestos from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s.