Eternit SA Seeks to Tell Its Story as to Brazilian Government Action on Asbestos
Eternit is responding to Brazilian government action targeting the company with respect to claims for relief arising out of past asbestos use An investor call also was held, and is briefly available online until September 5. It includes brief discussion of its reserve of something in the vicinity of $30 million US (80 million real). The exchange there, and in its press release, are not terribly useful for those who understand asbestos but do not know the subtleties of the Brazilian legal system.
"SAO PAULO, Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Eternit, (bm&fbovespa:ETER3) ETNTY -4.87% founded 73 years ago, market leader in the Brazilian roofing segment, with a significant presence in the bathroom chinaware and metal bathroom fittings segments and a manufacturer of components for construction systems, hereby informs the market that it was served with a summons yesterday afternoon, in a public-interest civil lawsuit filed by the Public Labour Ministry under lawsuit No. 0002106-72-2013.5.02.0009, which is currently before the 9th District Labour Court of Sao Paulo.
In contrast to that reported by a number of articles that have appeared in the press, in acquainting itself with the court process, the Company is able to identify that the injunction decision does not impose any cost burden on the health plan for all its former employees, which had been estimated by some at between 8000 and 10,000 people. Notwithstanding that the Company disagrees with its merits and that there is a need for a detailed examination of this very complex and voluminous court case, the decision is very clear in that it imposes a requirement for providing health assistance for "all the former employees from the Osasco industrial plant (…) referring to pages 76/83", with respect to "damage to health associated with occupational exposure to asbestos" provided, (i) that they are not already included under a health plan, the cost of which is borne by the Company; and (ii) that the potential beneficiaries confirm their interest in receiving medical assistance.
Also, because it has been possible to carry out preliminary verification of the case, the report covers 297 people, of which it has been possible to verify that a significant percentage has, over a period of time, already received medical assistance – the cost of which has been borne by Eternit.
The Company believes that it is important to also make it clear that five of the six requests for interlocutory relief previously drawn up by the Public Labour Ministry have been dismissed by Her Honour the Labour Judge and will be duly analysed during the course of the court case.
With respect to the institutional role of the MPT and the renewal of its commitment to continue to enforce compliance with laws and legal rulings, the Company believes that there is no basis for this court case, and hereby announces that it will be carrying out a vigourous defence of its rights at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner.
The Company also emphasises that it strictly complies with the safety standards and procedures established by Federal Law 9.055/95 and Decree 2.350/97 which regulates it, and which is recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in its Convention No. 162. This reality is translated into a favourable environment for the conducting of healthy work, exempt from risks, which preserves the health of the Company’s employees, this fact having also been also recognised in a number of court decisions.
With respect to the Osasco manufacturing unit, which ceased activities in 1993, the Company maintains an office which provide social assistance and support for former employees, together with medical monitoring.
The Company operates in total transparency and maintains its "Open Doors Program", which has received more than 50,000 visitors at its various units, allowing access to any of the population wishing to learn about the safety procedures used in the Company’s mining and chrysotile asbestos-based product manufacturing processes.
The Company wishes to emphasise its continued firm belief in Brazilian justice, and hopes that the technical and scientific evidence will be duly considered in the judgement of the case, disregarding susceptibility to pressure groups in favour of banning chrysotile asbestos, based purely on the unsuccessful European experience.
Conference call with Webcast (in Portuguese-simultaneous translation to English)
Presentation: Elio Martins – CEO and IR Director
Date: August 30, 2013
Time: 09.00 a.m. Brazilian Local Time – 08.00 a.m. New York – 01.00 p.m. London
To follow the presentation by telephone, please dial the following telephone numbers: (55-11) 4688-6361 for Brazil and (1-786) 924-6977 for other countries -Password:ETERNIT
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, +55-11-3194-3881
SOURCE Eternit S.A.
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