Sherwin-Williams settles over stock plan

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to settle a previously disclosed investigation of transactions related to its employee stock ownership plan. 

The agreement calls for an $80 million payment to the plan, which will result in an after-tax charge to earnings of $49.2 million. 

In a statement, the company said: "Following a nine-month negotiation with the DOL, the company's management and board of directors have decided that it would be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to enter into this agreement to resolve these claims and avoid potentially costly litigation." 

Sherwin-Williams added: "The company believes that the DOL's claims are without merit and strongly disagrees with the allegation that ESOP plan participants sustained losses of any kind as a result of these transactions. The company's position is supported by internal audits and audits by an independent third party and the DOL."

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