PPG Quandary Not Easy To Dump

A judge's ruling that rejects PPG Industries Inc.'s plan to resolve nearly $1 billion in asbestos claims could muddy for years how PPG disposes of the liability, analysts said Friday.

Wall Street, though, hasn't run for the exits regarding the stock, following the court's decision Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

"The resolution of the case might take years, and for now, we view it more as a headline risk than a financial risk until we know what the next step is," said Robert Koort, an analyst for Goldman Sachs, New York.

"We maintain our 'buy' (recommendation), but acknowledge greater uncertainty," said Kevin McCarthy, an analyst for Banc of America Securities, New York.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald said it wasn't legal for PPG -- the world's second-largest car-paint maker -- to dispose of almost all its 116,000 asbestos lawsuits by putting them in a proposed trust in the bankruptcy case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp., an insulation company that PPG co-owns with Corning Inc.

Fitzgerald refused to confirm Pittsburgh Corning's amended plan of reorganization, which contains the asbestos work-out proposal. Since 1937, PPG has owned 50 percent of the joint venture.

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