Huntsman Trial Against Banks To Begin Monday

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chemical giant Huntsman Corp (HUN.N) is due to go to trial on Monday against lenders Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) in a Texas state court after a delay related to jury selection.

Huntsman launched a multibillion suit against the banks after its failed takeover last year by private equity-backed Hexion.

The trial had been due to start on Thursday in Conroe, Texas but was delayed due to some pretrial motions and as jury selection continued, a Huntsman spokesman confirmed.

The banks had agreed in 2007 to fund the acquisition by Hexion, which is owned by Apollo Management. Apollo later tried to walk away from the deal as the credit crisis worsened, but was told by a Delaware court that it could not do so.

Then in October of 2008, Apollo said the banks had balked at providing funding for the $6.5 billion leveraged buyout. The banks said in a statement that solvency opinions from Huntsman’s chief financial officer and an independent appraisal firm were not satisfactory, breaking the terms of their financing commitment letter.

Huntsman agreed in December to terminate its deal and Apollo and affiliates paid $1 billion to settle with the company.

Huntsman continued its lawsuit against the banks however, claiming that they had conspired with Apollo and interfered with a prior merger deal with a separate company, Basell AF, a division of Access Industries.

The trial is expected to take about a month. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Richard Chang)