$750 million plastic pipe settlementHoechst Celanese Corp.,...


$750 million plastic pipe settlement

Hoechst Celanese Corp., Shell Oil Co. and Du Pont Co. have agreed to pay at least $750 million to settle a lawsuit alleging their chemicals used to make plastic plumbing pipes and fittings caused damage in homes nationwide.

Hoechst, based in Somerville, N.J., announced the settlement yesterday. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement would cost the three companies $750 million or more, making it the largest U.S. property-damage class-action settlement.

Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, which filed suit in September 1993, said Celanese, Shell and Du Pont made resin products, including polybutylene, that were used in pipes and fittings that corroded when exposed to chemicals commonly found in drinking water. The settlement was filed yesterday in District Court in Houston. The companies will pay to replace leaking plastic plumbing and compensate homeowners whose property was damaged by the leaks, the lawyers' group said.

Edison Project chief denies trouble

The former Yale University president heading an ambitious private project to profitably manage public schools sought to deflate suggestions yesterday that the venture is in trouble.

Benno C. Schmidt Jr., president of the Edison Project, conceded the venture's organizers missed a self-imposed September deadline for deciding how many schools would open under its management next fall.

His comments followed published reports that some school districts are wavering about plans to align with Edison and that key Edison employees are leaving.

U.S. Healthcare net jumps 30%

U.S. Healthcare Inc. said yesterday that third-quarter net income jumped 30 percent on tight medical cost controls and more members in its managed health-care plans.

Blue Bell, Pa.-based U.S. Healthcare said net income rose to $101.4 million, or 63 cents a share, from $78.3 million, or 48 cents, a year ago. Revenue gained 12 percent to $754.8 million from $674.2 million.

U.S., Canada, Europe airfares drop

Airfares dropped like leaves this weekend, with carriers cutting prices to cities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Northwest Airlines Corp. trimmed as much as 40 percent off the price of tickets purchased through Friday for travel in the continental United States, Alaska and Canada.

Its offer was matched yesterday by American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Trans World Airlines and USAir Group in markets where they compete with Northwest.

Also, TWA said it will cut as much as 30 percent from the price of tickets bought through today for flights from 15 U.S. cities to 10 European destinations. That offer, good for travel through March 15, was matched by United and Northwest.


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