Bayer agrees to $18 million settlement in price-fixing case

International Herald Tribune, October 18, 2006
KANSAS CITY, Missouri Bayer AG has agreed to pay $18 million (€14.3 million) to settle claims it conspired with other manufacturers to inflate the price of certain plastics, the second multi-million-dollar settlement the company has made this year regarding its polymer operation.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum in Kansas City, Kansas, approved the settlement, which covers the company’s sales of polyester polyol-based products between Jan. 1, 1998 and Dec. 31, 2004.
The agreement also requires Bayer, headquartered in Germany, to cooperate with plaintiff attorneys as they continue their class-action lawsuit against former co-defendants Uniroyal Chemical Co. and Chemtura Corp., formerly known as Crompton Corp.
Lungstrum also agreed to dismiss defendants Rhein Chemie Corp. and Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH, subsidiaries of Lanxess Corp., which was spun off from Bayer last year.
In August, Lungstrum approved a $55.3 million (€44 million) settlement by Bayer in a separate case involving the sale of polyether polyol. Bayer also agreed to help attorneys against former co-defendants BASF Corp., BASF AG, The Dow Chemical Co., Huntsman International Holdings LLC and Lyondell Chemical Co.
A Bayer spokesman provided a company statement Wednesday confirming the two settlements but declined to comment further.
An attorney for the polyester plaintiffs didn’t immediately return a phone call for comment.
Bayer disclosed in March that it had been subpoenaed by the Justice Department seeking information about its manufacture and sale of polyurethane products called MDI and TDI, along with other products.
Court documents say Bayer, Dow, BASF, Huntsman and Lyondell control the entire MDI and TDI markets and 75 percent of production of polyether polyol, a polyurethane material that is mixed with other substances to make foams used in furniture, automobile seats and other products.
Federal authorities two years ago consolidated 16 cases filed across the country against polymer manufacturers by customers who alleged the companies had gotten together to fix the price of urethane and urethane chemicals.

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