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Getting Choked by Asbestos Liabilities

Asbestos impact on Owens-Illinois is much more uncertain than that of Sealed Air.

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Companies require continuing cash flows from operations to breathe life into their businesses and to sustain their operations. Just as asbestos exposure can make it difficult for people to breathe or to live, asbestos liability can seriously impair a firm's cash flows and in some cases kill the company.

It has been many years since the asbestos-induced bankruptcy filings of the likes of Owens-Corning, WR Grace, and USG; but people are still getting ill from past asbestos exposure, and attorneys are eager to obtain settlement money from companies that bear some responsibility and have the ability to pay.

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Thomas Mullarkey does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.