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PU foam maker proposes up to $15m to settle US price-fixing suit

November 21/2011

(ICIS) -- UK-based Vitafoam had no immediate comments late on Friday regarding a proposal to pay up to $15m (?11m) to settle allegations that the company fixed prices on polyurethane (PU) flexible foam.

Under the proposal, Vitafoam would pay $9m with a possibility of paying up to $6m more, for a total worth up to $15m, according to court documents. In addition, Vitafoam offered to cooperate with the polyurethane-foam customers in their lawsuit against other producers. In proposing the settlement, Vitafoam denied all allegations that it has done anything wrong. The proposal still needs to be approved by the court.

Vitafoam is among several polyurethane producers accused of fixing prices. Others include Carpenter, Flexible Foam Products, Future Foam, FXI - Foamex Innovations, Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Inoac, Leggett & Platt, Mohawk Industries, Otto Bock Polyurethane Technologies, Plastomer, Scottdel, Valle Foam and the Woodbridge Group. Leggett & Platt and Otto Bock have both denied the allegations. In the lawsuit, the foam buyers allege that the producers had been fixing prices since at least 1 January 1999. As a result, the buyers said they had paid too much for foam as the market was no longer competitive.

Perspectives of development of the polymers markets, pricing issues and other important aspects will
be discussed at The Polymers Summit-2011, which will be held in Moscow on November 30, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Summit is organized by MRC with the support of ICIS. The main idea of the Summit is to find a "the golden mean" between producers and converters. When producers receive exactly such margin of production, which helps them to invest in production expansion in order to substitute polymers imports, and the converters receive such price of feedstock that helps them to compete imported finished products. The Summit site gives an access to the live video of the Summit, speakers' presentations, as well as opportunities to ask questions or make appointments to any Summit partcipant.

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