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A judge has approved a settlement between Halliburton Co. and its insurance companies, clearing the way to end a nearly yearlong asbestos bankruptcy case for some of the conglomerate’s subsidiaries. Judge Judith Fitzgerald, a visiting judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington, on Monday approved a $1.5 billion settlement. In July, Fitzgerald and Judge Terrence F. McVerry, U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, approved a reorganization plan for Halliburton subsidiaries that included KBR and DII Industries. But certain insurance companies then appealed that decision. The reorganization plan includes a $4.8 billion settlement of asbestos claims against KBR, DII and other Halliburton units. The insurance companies objected to the plan in part because they’d be on the hook to Halliburton for part of the settlement. Those insurers have been in talks with Halliburton since July and finally agreed to pay $1.5 billion. Halliburton’s $4.8 billion asbestos settlement is made up of $2.8 billion in cash and 59.5 million Halliburton shares. Halliburton has said it would turn to its insurers to cover part of the cash payment. Now that they’ve settled, the insurers are expected to withdraw their appeals any day, said Jeffrey Rich of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, bankruptcy counsel to the Halliburton units. The reorganization plan takes effect in about 30 days after the insurers withdraw their appeals. Halliburton put the KBR and DII units in Chapter 11 on Dec. 16, 2003, to settle all asbestos litigation and place a cap on future asbestos claims. Copyright �2004 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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