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Roche says U.S. vitamin settlement near

(Reuters) -- Swiss-based Roche Holding AG said on Tuesday that talks on settling civil lawsuits arising from a U.S. vitamins price-fixing case were making good progress but it would not confirm a tentative accord had been struck.

(Reuters) — Swiss-based Roche Holding AG said on Tuesday that talks on settling civil lawsuits arising from a U.S. vitamins price-fixing case were making good progress but it would not confirm a tentative accord had been struck.
“The settlement discussions are well advanced. We are hopeful of making a settlement,” a company spokesman said. But he would not confirm a Washington Post report that six big companies had agreed to pay more tha $1.1 billion to settle the lawsuits.

“I cannot confirm the timelines or the amounts mentioned in there,” he said. The newspaper had reported the deal would be presented to a U.S. federal judge in about two weeks.

According to the Post, nearly 1,000 corporate buyers of bulk vitamins would get just over $1 billion and some 50 law firms involved in the matter would be paid close to $125 million.

The spokesman for Basle-based Roche noted that Roche had taken a charge of $640 million in the first half to cover exposure to the class-action lawsuits.

This was over and above the $500 million fine Roche paid to settle U.S. criminal charges that it had conspired to fix vitamin prices.

The other companies involved are BASF AG, Rhone-Poulenc SA, Eisai Co, Daichi Pharmaceutical Co and Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd.

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