Business & Finance

Mounting claims threaten a $4 billion asbestos settlement that Halliburton Co. agreed to in December, the Houston oilfield services company warned Tuesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the past six months, the number of claimants rose by 70,000 to 425,000, and the cash and stock set aside for payments may be inadequate, Halliburton's filing said. Any attempt to renegotiate terms may cause plaintiffs' attorneys to reject the deal, it noted.

As their rivalry sharpens, shaving giant Gillette Co. sued Schick-Wilkinson Sword Tuesday, hours after the latter unveiled the Quattro, the trade's first four-blade razor. The suit, filed in federal court in Boston, where Gillette is based, claims the Quattro infringes on patents for its three-blade Mach3 shaver. It seeks $2.2 billion in damages, among other forms of relief. Schick is a subsidiary of Energizer Holdings of St. Louis.

Coca-Cola lost an appeal before the Supreme Court of India challenging accusations that its bottled products contained dangerously high levels of pesticides. The soft drink giant contended that the determination, by the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi, threatened its right to conduct business in India. The finding also applied to rival PepsiCo. Both companies reject the claims, which have led to the banning of their products by municipal governments in three states and boycotts by numerous private organizations. The Supreme Court said it would not intervene in the matter until Coca-Cola's challenge had worked its way through lower courts first. For its part, PepsiCo won the cooperation of a lower court Monday in seeking new tests of its products by the federal government.

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