Today I approve the proposed corporate restructure of James Hardie Industries N.V. ("James Hardie"), subject to strict assurances by James Hardie that this proposal will not alter its binding commitments to make future payments to the Asbestos Injuries Compensation Fund ("the Fund") and enhances its ability to make contributions in the medium to longer term. These assurances are attached.
The Fund was established to compensate victims of asbestos related injuries developed from products previously manufactured by James Hardie companies. James Hardie is obliged to make funding contributions to the Fund under certain financial conditions, and has provided the trustees of the Fund with an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee in order to ensure that the restructure will not affect its fulfilment of its obligations under the Amended Final Funding Agreement.
The proposed internal restructure will change James Hardie to a Societas Europaea company and will result in James Hardie moving its corporate domicile from the Netherlands to the Republic of Ireland. A Societas Europaea company is a European public limited company that exists under a common legislative framework across all member states of the EU.
These changes will not prevent James Hardie Industries N.V.'s current obligations to the Fund from being enforceable against the Societas Europaea company.
18 September 2009