BAYONNE, NJ - The Muralo Co. Inc. announced that it has filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, an action the company said would allow it to resolve the asbestos liabilities of its Synkoloid Division.

The company, founded in 1894, said the proceedings would not affect its ongoing business operations, production and delivery schedules.

The filing "is not about the financial state of our company. It is rather about dealing with Synkoloid's alleged successor liabilities," said Muralo President James Norton. "Muralo's business is healthy and its financial position is sound. Our decision to seek a court-supervised process to deal with these asbestos liabilities under Chapter 11 will provide it the best means to ensure continued growth and success." Muralo is a manufacturer of coatings, patch and repair products, and paint-application supplies.

Muralo in 1981 acquired certain assets of the Synkoloid Co., a division of Artra. As part of the purchase agreement Muralo was indemnified by Artra for claims, liabilities or lawsuits arising from the products Synkoloid had previously made. For the past 21 years, Artra has defended claims related to Synkoloid products from that time period.

In June of 2002, however, Artra was forced to file for bankruptcy. Despite the fact that Muralo is not responsible for any liability for products manufactured by Synkoloid prior to ownership by Muralo, the company has become a target of lawyers seeking new parties to sue, Muralo said.

Separately, the company named Peter Seaborg vice president of Sales, Robert Pick manager of Customer Service and Chitra Jeurkar vice president of R&D.

Seaborg, formerly Muralo's sales manager for the Middle Atlantic region, assumes responsibility for sales of Muralo paints and coatings and of Eider & Jenks paint applicators, and will direct the company's sales representatives and affiliated sales agencies. Since joining Muralo in 1973, Seaborg has held several sales positions.

Pick, who joined Muralo in 2000, will serve as the company's liaison to painting contractors and as a communication link between dealers and end users. Jeurkar, who joined Muralo in 1984 and has held various positions in the company's R&D Group, will manage Muralo's laboratory operations.