Honeywell ( HON) will take a $1.9 billion charge to cover an asbestos settlement and said even before the item, earnings in its fourth quarter will be slightly below analysts' estimates. The announcement comes one day after Halliburton ( HAL) disclosed
plans to settle its current and future asbestos liabilities by funding a trust with some $4 billion of cash and stock. About $900 million of Honeywell's charge covers costs associated with the potential settlement of claims related to the former North American Refractories Co. unit, which is in bankruptcy proceedings and faces about 200,000 suits. The rest reflects asset writedowns at its Specialty Materials and Friction Materials units, repositioning and other issues. Honeywell faces other asbestos lawsuits related to its Bendix brakes unit, but has said they're covered by insurance. Before the charge, which comes out to $2.30 a share after tax, the company expects earnings from continuing operations of 50 cents a share in the fourth quarter. Analysts were forecasting earnings of about 50 cents. Separate from the charge, Honeywell plans to make a voluntary contribution of $700 million in stock by year-end to fund its pension. Including dilution from the contribution of shares, Honeywell expects an increase in pension expense of between 30 cents and 40 cents a share in 2003. Click here to read a letter about this story.