Halliburton settles multi-billion asbestos claims

In a deal that should bring some much needed certainty to Halliburton employees and investors, the world's second largest oil services company has agreed to pay $US4.2 billion in cash and stock to settle long standing asbestos-related claims.

It is understood that Halliburton will pay $US2.75 billion in cash and issue $US1.4 billion in stock to compensate workers and others for health problems tied to asbestos exposure, said the lawyer representing claimants in the Harbinson-Walker Refactories bankruptcy case. The unit was once owned by Halliburton's subsidiary Dresser Industries.

The settlement allows Halliburton to avoid bankruptcy and create a trust to pay its asbestos liability. "They are buying peace from asbestos litigation for all time," the claimant's lawyer said.