James Hardie Industries

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James Hardie Industries is an Netherlands-based corporation which manufactures building products. It operates in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Europe and Asia.

James Hardie was for decades the main Australian manufacturer of asbestos products - the key cause of a cancer called mesothelioma.

Australia has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma in the world. More than 7,500 Australians have been reported as dying from mesothelioma. More than 500 Australians per year currently contract the disease and the peak of its incidence is not expected until about 2010. Up to 18,000 Australians are likely to die from mesothelioma by 2020 and historical figures suggest that for each diagnosed case of mesothelioma there are as many cases of lung cancer and non-malignant asbestos related disease. [1]

Since 1995, James Hardie has sought to avoid the considerable liabilities which have flowed from its asbestos production.

Between 1996 and 2001, James Hardie transferred most of its assets to the Netherlands, a country with which Australia does not have a treaty to enforce of a civil judgment obtained in Australia. According to the Secretary of the ACTU, Greg Combet, the movement of the Hardie Group's assets overseas — out of reach of Australian asbestos victims — is "one of the most morally and legally repugnant acts in Australian corporate history." [2]

After a massive nation-wide campaign in 2004, James Hardie finally signed an in principle agreement with Australian unions, the New South Wales and asbestos victims support groups which involved the company continuing to pay compensation to victims of asbestos-related diseases, including an up-front cash buffer of A$250 million - the equivalent of 3 years worth of victims' claims - and a minimum term of the funding arrangement of 40 years. [3]

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James Hardie Board

Non-executive Directors

Executive Directors

Former Chairman 1995-2004

PR firms retained

Contact Information

Web: http://www.jameshardie.com

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