A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc.

A.B.B. Lummus Global Inc. Logo
  • Founded: 1883

  • Years Operated: 1883 - present

  • Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland

  • Business: Manufactures industrial equipment

  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

  • Bankruptcy Status: Filed in 2006 and reorganized in 2006

    Trust Fund Information

  • Amount in Trust: $38 million

  • Year Created: 2006

History

ABB Lummus Global, Inc. is part of a larger organization, ABB Ltd., which is headquartered in Switzerland. ABB combined two separate entities, the Swedish electrical company Allmanna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASEA) and Switzerland-based Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC), both of which were founded in the late 1800s.

Specializing in high-capacity transformers and electrical systems, ASEA built the world’s first 120 MVA 220kV transformer and designed the first 400 kV AC cable. BBC built Europe’s first steam turbine, the first high-speed locomotive and the first gas-insulated switchgear of specific power that was designed to increase the safety of circuit breakers in confined spaces.

The companies merged in 1988, forming ABB and establishing a headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. As a single company, the researchers, scientists and technicians of ABB continued their ground-breaking work in manufacturing and process automation.

In 1995, ABB created Lummus Global by merging ABB Global Engineering with ABB Lummus Crest. Lummus Global has long been a leader in the development of process technology for the petrochemical and oil and gas industries. The company currently operates through five business divisions: power products, power systems, discrete automation and motion, low voltage products and process automation.

For several decades, ABB manufactured many products that contained asbestos ingredients. The company incorporated this dangerous mineral into products like gaskets, valves, insulation, and other items used in generators, reactors and related technologies. As a result, ABB faced asbestos claims that eventually caused significant legal implications.

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Asbestos Litigation

In 2006, ABB Lummus Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to pay out asbestos-related liability claims filed against the company. It was the second of two ABB subsidiaries to file an asbestos- related bankruptcy. The first, Combustion Engineering, had filed for Chapter 11 the previous year. Injured parties filed a total of 135,000 asbestos claims against Lummus Global in the United States, and another 440,000 claims were filed against Combustion Engineering.

An Asbestos PI Trust was created as part of the Lummus Chapter 11 reorganization plan. ABB allocated nearly $1.5 billion to pay asbestos claims made by employees and subcontractors of Lummus Global and Combustion Engineering. The purpose of the Trust is to expedite claims against ABB in a timely and equitable fashion.

The Trust sets forth a process for filing a claim and the specific procedure by which claims are assessed. At the time the initial Trust document was released, awards were capped at $4,000 for Feedwater Heater Claims and $30,000 for Design and Construction Claims. In 2007, ABB sold Lummus Global to Texas-based CB&I for $950 million in an effort to further fund its asbestos liability trust. Today, products manufactured by ABB US are asbestos-free.

Industries and Occupations

ABB Lummus Global manufactured a variety of asbestos-containing equipment and technologies throughout its long history. The manufacturing of these products put many of ABB’s employees at risk of developing respiratory illnesses related to asbestos exposure.

Some of the occupations potentially exposed while working at ABB include factory workers, machinists, metal workers and engineers. Continual exposure to asbestos can be detrimental and may not be noticeable for decades. At risk workers are encouraged to receive regular medical screenings and report any health conditions to their doctor.

Products

Some of the products manufactured by ABB that potentially contained asbestos include high-capacity transformers, electrical systems, AC cables, steam turbines and gas-insulated switchgears.

Company Facts

  • ABB operates in nearly 100 countries
  • Its operations utilize 7 research centers and 6,0000 researchers from over 70 colleges
  • ABB manages nearly 4,780 patent families and 19,890 patent applications

Additional Resources

  1. D'Amico, Esther. Lummus Global files for Chapter 11. (2006 May 03). Retrieved from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-145927065/lummus-global-files-chapter.html
  2. Newsroom, ABB. (2007 August 27). ABB sells Lummus Global to CB&I [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.abb.com/cawp/seitp202/60c4fdcd6185e08ec125734400199e16.aspx
  3. ABB – Facts and Figures. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.abb.com/cawp/abbzh252/b434095700ab7545c1256ae700494de1.aspx
  4. LexisNexis - Mealey's Asbestos Bankruptcy Report. (2007 February). Retrieved from http://www.crowell.com/documents/DOCASSOCFKTYPE_ARTICLES_592.pdf
  5. Rand. (2010). Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts: An Overview of Trust Structure and Activity with Detailed Reports on the Largest Trusts. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/2010/RAND_TR872.pdf

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