SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported): January 28, 2008
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)
|(Commission File Number)||(IRS Employer Identification No.)|
|100 First Stamford Place, Stamford, CT||06902|
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
Registrants telephone number, including area code: (203) 363-7300
(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)
Check the appropriate box below if the Form 8-K filing is intended to simultaneously satisfy the filing obligation of the registrant under any of the following provisions:
|¨||Written communications pursuant to Rule 425 under the Securities Act (17 CFR 230.425)|
|¨||Soliciting material pursuant to Rule 14a-12 under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14a-12)|
|¨||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 14d-2(b) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.14d-2(b))|
|¨||Pre-commencement communications pursuant to Rule 13e-4(c) under the Exchange Act (17 CFR 240.13e-4(c))|
INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS REPORT
SECTION 2 FINANCIAL INFORMATION
|Item 2.02||Results of Operations and Financial Condition.|
On January 28, 2008, Crane Co. announced its results of operations for the quarter ended December 31, 2007. Copies of the related press release and quarterly financial data supplement are being furnished as Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2 to this Form 8-K.
The information furnished under Item 2.02 of this Current Report on Form 8-K, including Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2, is not deemed to be filed for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
SECTION 5 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
|Item 5.03(a)||Amendment to By-laws.|
On January 28, 2008, the Board of Directors of Crane Co. voted to amend Article V (Capital Stock) of the Companys By-laws to permit the Company to issue shares of its common stock in uncertificated form, and to provide for suitable procedures regarding the issuance, transfer and cancellation of uncertificated shares.
A copy of the text of the amendments is attached to this Current Report on Form 8-K as Exhibit 3.1. Pursuant to the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the complete text of the By-laws as amended will be filed as an exhibit to the Companys next periodic report, the 2007 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
SECTION 8 OTHER EVENTS
|Item 8.01||Other Events.|
The following information is provided in order to update the discussion in the Companys previously filed reports with respect to its asbestos liability.
Information Regarding Claims and Costs in the Tort System
As of December 31, 2007, the Company was a defendant in cases filed in various state and federal courts alleging injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos. Activity related to asbestos claims during the periods indicated was as follows:
|(In millions)||Year Ended December 31,|
|*||Does not include 36,332 maritime actions that were filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania pursuant to an order by the Federal Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL). These claims have been placed on the inactive docket of cases that are administratively dismissed without prejudice in the MDL.|
Of the 80,999 pending claims as of December 31, 2007, approximately 25,000 claims were pending in New York, approximately 24,000 claims were pending in Mississippi, approximately 9,000 claims were pending in Texas and approximately 4,000 claims were pending in Ohio, all jurisdictions in which legislation or judicial orders restrict the types of claims that can proceed to trial on the merits.
Since the termination of the comprehensive master settlement agreement (MSA) on January 24, 2005, the Company has been resolving claims filed against it in the tort system. The Company has not re-engaged in discussions with representatives of current or future asbestos claimants with respect to such a comprehensive settlement. While the Company believes that federal legislation to establish a trust fund to compensate asbestos claimants is the most appropriate solution to the asbestos litigation problem, there is substantial uncertainty regarding whether this will occur and, if so, when and on what terms. The Company remains committed to exploring all feasible alternatives available to resolve its asbestos liability in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Companys shareholders.
Substantially all of the claims the Company resolves are concluded through settlements. The Company recently tried the Joseph Norris asbestos claim (the Norris Claim) to verdict in California, however, and received an adverse jury verdict on September 15, 2006. On October 10, 2006 the court entered judgment on this verdict against the Company in the amount of $2.15 million, together with interest thereon at the rate of 10% per annum until paid. The Company does not believe that the verdict was supported by the evidence. In addition, the Company believes that procedural irregularities prevented an appropriate determination of the Companys alleged responsibility for plaintiffs injuries. The Companys post-trial motions were denied by order dated December 15, 2006. On January 3, 2007, the Company appealed the judgment; the appeal is pending.
The gross settlement and defense costs incurred (before insurance and tax effects) for the Company in the years ended December 31, 2007, 2006 and 2005 totaled $87.5 million, $69.1 million and $45.1 million, respectively. In contrast to the recognition of settlement and defense costs that reflect the current level of activity in the tort system, cash payments and receipts generally lag the tort system activity by several months or more. Cash payments of settlement amounts are not made until all releases and other required documentation are received by the Company. The Companys pre-tax cash payments for settlement and defense costs, including payments from insurers, in the years ended December 31, 2007, 2006 and 2005 totaled a $10.2 million net payment in 2007 (reflecting the receipt of $31.5 million in previously escrowed funds from Equitas Limited (Equitas) in January 2007 and the receipt of $10.0 million for a full policy buyout from Employers Reinsurance Company (ERC) in April 2007), a $40.6 million net payment in 2006 and a $45.3 million net payment in 2005, respectively. Detailed below are the comparable amounts for the periods indicated.
|(In millions)||Year Ended December 31,||Cumulative to|
Dec. 31, 2007
Settlement costs incurred (1)
Defense costs incurred (1)
Total costs incurred
Pre-tax cash payments (receipts) (2)
(Refund) associated with terminated MSA
|(1)||Before insurance recoveries and tax effects.|
|(2)||Net of payments received from insurers, including a $31.5 million payment from Equitas in January 2007 and a $10.0 million payment from ERC in April 2007. The cumulative amounts include certain legal fees and expenses related to the terminated MSA.|
The amounts shown for settlement and defense costs incurred, and cash payments, are not necessarily indicative of future period amounts, which may be higher or lower than those reported.
Effects on the Consolidated Financial Statements
The Company has retained the firm of Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Associates, Inc. (HR&A), a nationally recognized expert in the field, to assist management in estimating the Companys asbestos liability in the tort system. HR&A reviews information provided by the Company concerning claims filed, settled and dismissed, amounts paid in settlements and relevant claim information such as the nature of the asbestos-related disease asserted by the claimant, the jurisdiction where filed and the time lag from filing to disposition of the claim. The methodology used by HR&A to project future asbestos costs is based largely on the Companys experience during the two full preceding calendar years (and additional quarterly periods to the estimate date) for claims filed, settled and dismissed. The Companys experience is then compared to the results of previously conducted epidemiological studies estimating the number of individuals likely to develop asbestos-related diseases. Those studies were undertaken in connection with national analyses of the population of workers believed to have been exposed to asbestos. Using that information, HR&A estimates the number of future claims that would be filed against the Company, as well as the related settlement or indemnity costs that would be incurred to resolve those claims. This methodology has been accepted by numerous courts. After discussions with the Company, HR&A augments its liability estimate for the costs of defending asbestos claims in the tort system using a forecast from the Company which is based upon discussions with its defense counsel. Based on this information, HR&A compiles an estimate of the Companys asbestos liability for pending and future claims, based on claim experience over the past two years and covering claims expected to be filed through the indicated period. Although the methodology used by HR&A will also show claims and costs for subsequent periods (up to and including the endpoint of the asbestos studies referred to above), management believes that the level of uncertainty is too great to provide for reasonable estimation of the number of future claims, the nature of such claims or the cost to resolve them for years beyond the indicated estimate.
In the Companys view, the forecast period used to provide the best estimate for asbestos claims and related liabilities and costs is a judgment based upon a number of trend factors, including the number and type of claims being filed each year, the jurisdictions where such claims are filed and the effect of any legislation or judicial orders in such jurisdictions restricting the types of claims that can proceed to trial on the merits and the likelihood of any comprehensive asbestos legislation at the federal level. In addition, the dynamics of asbestos litigation in the tort system have been significantly affected over the past five to ten years by the substantial number of companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection, thereby staying any asbestos claims against them until the conclusion of such proceedings, and the establishment of a number of post-bankruptcy trusts for asbestos claimants, which are estimated to hold $25 billion for payments to current and future claimants. These trend factors have both positive and negative effects on the dynamics of asbestos litigation in the tort system and the related best estimate of the Companys asbestos liability, and these effects do not move in a linear fashion but rather change over multi-year periods. Accordingly, the Companys management monitors these trend factors over time and periodically assesses whether an alternative forecast period is appropriate.
Liability Estimate. With the assistance of HR&A, effective as of September 30, 2007 the Company updated and extended its estimate of the asbestos liability, including the costs of settlement or indemnity payments and defense costs relating to currently pending claims and future claims projected to be filed against the Company through 2017. The Companys previous estimate was for asbestos claims filed through 2011. As a result of this updated estimate, the Company recorded an additional liability of $586 million as of September 30, 2007. The Companys decision to take this action at such date was based on several factors. First, the number of asbestos claims being filed against the Company has moderated substantially over the past several years, and in the Companys opinion, the outlook for asbestos claims expected to be filed and resolved in the forecast period is reasonably stable. Second, these claim trends are particularly true for mesothelioma claims, which although constituting only 11% of the Companys asbestos claims account for approximately 85% of the Companys aggregate settlement and defense costs over the past five years. Third, federal legislation that would significantly change the nature of asbestos litigation failed to pass in 2006, and in the Companys opinion, the prospects for such legislation at the federal level are remote. Fourth, there have been significant actions taken by certain state legislatures and courts over the past several years that have reduced the number and types of claims that can proceed to trial, which has been a significant factor in stabilizing the asbestos claim activity. Fifth, the Company has now entered into coverage-in-place agreements with a majority of its excess insurers, which enables the Company to project a more stable relationship between settlement and defense costs paid by the Company and reimbursements from its insurers. Taking all of these factors into account, the Company believes that it can reasonably estimate the asbestos liability for pending claims and future claims to be filed through 2017. While it is probable that the Company will incur additional charges for asbestos liabilities and defense costs in excess of the amounts currently provided, the Company does not believe that any such amount can be reasonably estimated beyond 2017. Accordingly, no accrual has been recorded for any costs which may be incurred for claims made subsequent to 2017.
Management has made its best estimate of the costs through 2017 based on the analysis by HR&A completed in October 2007. A liability of $1,055 million was recorded as of September 30, 2007 to cover the estimated cost of asbestos claims now pending or subsequently asserted through 2017, of which approximately 68% is attributable to settlement and defense costs for future claims projected to be filed through 2017. The liability is reduced when cash payments are made in respect of settled claims and defense costs. The liability was $1,027 million as of December 31, 2007. It is not possible to forecast when cash payments related to the asbestos liability will be fully expended; however, it is expected such cash payments will continue for a number of years past 2017, due to the significant proportion of future claims included in the estimated asbestos liability and the lag time between the date a claim is filed and when it is resolved.
Estimation of the Companys ultimate exposure for asbestos-related claims is subject to significant uncertainties, as there are multiple variables that can affect the timing, severity and quantity of claims. The Company cautions that its estimated liability is based on assumptions with respect to future claims, settlement and defense costs based on recent experience during the last few years that may not prove reliable as predictors. A significant upward or downward trend in the number of claims filed, depending on the nature of the alleged injury, the jurisdiction where filed and the quality of the product identification, or a significant upward or downward trend in the costs of defending claims, could change the estimated liability, as would any substantial adverse verdict at trial. A legislative solution or a revised structured settlement transaction could also change the estimated liability.
Insurance Coverage and Receivables. Prior to 2005, a significant portion of the Companys settlement and defense costs were paid by its primary insurers. With the exhaustion of that primary coverage, the Company began negotiations with its excess insurers to reimburse the Company for a portion of its settlement and defense costs as incurred. To date, the Company has entered into agreements providing for such reimbursements, known as coverage-in-place, with eight of its excess insurer groups. With three of its excess insurer groups, the Company entered into policy buyout agreements, settling all asbestos and other coverage obligations for an agreed sum, totaling $46.8 million in aggregate. The Company is in discussions with or expects to enter into additional coverage-in-place agreements with other of its excess insurers whose policies are expected to respond to the aggregate costs included in the updated liability estimate. Under such coverage-in-place agreements, an insurers policies remain in force and the insurer undertakes to provide coverage for the Companys present and future asbestos claims on specified terms and conditions that address, among other things, the share of asbestos claims costs to be paid by the insurer, payment terms, claims handling procedures and the expiration of the insurers obligations. Reimbursements from such insurers for past and ongoing settlement and defense costs allocable to their policies have been made as coverage-in-place and other agreements are reached with such insurers. All of these agreements include provisions for mutual releases, indemnification of the insurer and, for coverage-in-place, claims handling procedures.
The same factors that affect developing estimates of probable settlement and defense costs for asbestos-related liabilities also affect estimates of the probable insurance payments, as do a number of additional factors. These additional factors include the financial viability of the
insurance companies, the method by which losses will be allocated to the various insurance policies and the years covered by those policies, how settlement and defense costs will be covered by the insurance policies and interpretation of the effect on coverage of various policy terms and limits and their interrelationships. In addition, the timing and amount of reimbursements will vary because the Companys insurance coverage for asbestos claims involves multiple insurers, with different policy terms and certain gaps in coverage. In addition to consulting with legal counsel on these insurance matters, the Company retained insurance consultants to assist management in the estimation of probable insurance recoveries based upon the aggregate liability estimate described above and assuming the continued viability of all solvent insurance carriers. After considering the foregoing factors and consulting with legal counsel and such insurance consultants, the Company determined its probable insurance reimbursement rate for the aggregate liability recorded as of September 30, 2007 to be 33%. An asset of $351 million was recorded as of September 30, 2007 representing the probable insurance reimbursement for such claims. The asset is reduced as reimbursements and other payments from insurers are received. The asset was $340 million as of December 31, 2007.
Uncertainties. Many uncertainties exist surrounding asbestos litigation, and the Company will continue to evaluate its estimated asbestos-related liability and corresponding estimated insurance reimbursement as well as the underlying assumptions and process used to derive these amounts. These uncertainties may result in the Company incurring future charges or increases to income to adjust the carrying value of recorded liabilities and assets, particularly if the number of claims and settlement and defense costs change significantly or if legislation or another alternative solution is implemented; however, the Company is currently unable to estimate such future changes. Although the resolution of these claims may take many years, the effect on results of operations and financial position in any given period from a revision to these estimates could be material.
SECTION 9 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND EXHIBITS
|Item 9.01.||Financial Statements and Exhibits.|
|3.1||Amendment to By-laws|
|99.1||Earnings Press Release dated January 28, 2008, issued by Crane Co.|
|99.2||Crane Co. Quarterly Financial Data Supplement for the quarter ended December 31, 2007|
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned hereunto duly authorized.
|Dated: January 28, 2008||By:|
|Eric C. Fast|
|President and Chief Executive Officer|
|Acting Chief Financial Officer|
|3.1||Amendment to By-laws|
|99.1||Earnings Press Release dated January 28, 2008, issued by Crane Co.|
|99.2||Crane Co. Quarterly Financial Data Supplement for the quarter ended December 31, 2007|