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T&N gets asbestos reprieve

T&N, the auto components maker, was yesterday given a temporary reprieve from a ruling which could have reopened hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits resulting from its past life as an asbestos company.

Even so, the shares slumped 4.5p to 129p as the group warned less buoyant markets and destocking were hitting margins in pistons, friction products and gaskets. It was "particularly difficult to assess the final outcome of the year's results", T&N said.

The stay on asbestosis lawsuits came as the US Supreme Court agreed to review a ruling by the Philadelphia third circuit which earlier this year decertified the so-called Georgine system agreed in 1994 for settling claims out of court. As a result of the Supreme Court's intervention, the Georgine procedure will continue to operate while the court review is in progress.

T&N said it expected asbestos litigation charges would continue to be incurred in line with previous estimates of around pounds 25m for the second half of 1996. If the Supreme Court had rejected the request, Georgine would have been formally ended 21 days after the judgment.