ABB up on bankruptcy court's asbestos green light

Reuters - ZURICH - Shares in Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd. (ABBN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research) rose on Monday after a U.S. bankruptcy court on Friday gave its permission for ABB to move forward with its $1.4 billion asbestos settlement plan.

The maker of industrial robots and electric motors said that after the court's endorsement it could present its settlement plan to claimants in the case.

"If they approve it, the plan will go back to the court for confirmation. The confirmation hearing is set for September 29," the company said late on Friday.

ABB shares, which have risen more than 40 percent so far this year, firmed another 1.7 percent to 9.13 francs by 0925 GMT.

"This is an important first step which hopefully keeps the company on track to solving Combustion Engineering's asbestos related problems by the first quarter 2006," Helvea's Alessandro Migliorini said in a research note.

"It would enable the company to return to a 'normal company' status," he added.

ABB is eager to clear one of the final hurdles on its path to recovery. Its original plan was thrown out by a U.S. court last year. The company reworked the plan, adding an extra $232 million to the original package.

The group's chief executive has said there was a chance the issue could be resolved by the end of the year.

Asbestos was used in ABB products and can cause cancer.

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