Owens Corning Files For Bankruptcy To Resolve Asbestos Liability

By Bridge News Owens Corning Inc., one of the world's biggest makers of fiberglass and building materials, announced it is filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in hopes of resolving a $5 billion asbestos liability. The Toledo, Ohio-based company said its income from operations has fallen, compromising its ability to meet asbestos payments and bank credit agreement obligations. To remain liquid, Owens Corning said it received a $500 million debtor financing from Bank of America. "We have been attempting to manage this liability for more than two decades," says Owens Corning CEO Glen H. Hiner. "Until very recently, we thought Chapter 11 could be avoided." The company's asbestos liability arises from a high-temperature pipe insulation product it distributed and manufactured during a 20-year period from the 1950s through the 1970s. Owens -- as a co-defendant with other manufacturers, distributors, and installers -- has received more than 460,000 asbestos-related personal-injury claims to date. All of the company's U.S. units also filed chapter 11 petitions Oct. 5, the company adds.

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