Stillwater Allowed $2.6M Settlement

WILMINGTON, Delaware -- Stillwater Mining, the U.S. producer of platinum and palladium that is owned by Norilsk Nickel, has won a judge's approval for a $2.6 million settlement of a five-year shareholder lawsuit.

Investors sued officials of Stillwater in Delaware Chancery Court and federal courts in New York and Montana in 2002, "challenging the accuracy of certain public disclosures" about financial results and ore reserves, according to court papers.

"Plaintiffs achieved what they set out to achieve," said Judge Stephen Lamb in approving the settlement at a hearing Friday. He awarded lawyers who filed the complaint $50,000 in fees. A Montana federal judge must also approve the pact.

Stillwater, based in Billings, Montana, with $613.1 million in sales last year, is about 54 percent owned by Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest palladium miner. Stockholders who owned Stillwater shares from April 20, 2001, to April 1, 2002, are eligible to apply for part of the settlement fund. The money will be paid by National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, court papers show.