Press release from Business Wire
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit Against YPF Sociedad Anonima
Monday, April 08, 2013
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit Against YPF Sociedad Anonima19:35 EDT Monday, April 08, 2013
NEW YORK (Business Wire) -- Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP (“Robbins Geller”) today announced that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of the American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) of YPF Sociedad Anonima (“YPF” or the “Company”) between December 22, 2009 and April 16, 2012, inclusive (the “Class Period”) seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).
If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than today. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff's counsel, Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld of Robbins Geller at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.
YPF describes itself as “Argentina's leading energy company, operating a fully integrated oil and gas chain with leading market positions” in the exploration, development and production of crude oil, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas, and the refining, marketing, transportation and distribution of energy-based products. Since 1999, YPF was owned and controlled by Repsol S.A., formerly known as Repsol YPF, S.A. (“Repsol”). Repsol is a Spanish-based, integrated oil and gas company that is engaged in all aspects of the oil and gas industry.
The complaint alleges that in late 2007, Repsol hoped that it could shield itself against possible Argentinean government aggression and began to reduce its exposure to Argentina by agreeing to sell up to 25% of YPF to businessman Enrique Eskenazi's Petersen Group, which was closely allied with the Argentinean government. In December 2009, YPF announced a five-year plan, also known as the Horizon 2014 plan, to increase exploration in untapped regions of Argentina. However, in reality, the plan was part of a scheme that would allow Repsol to stave off nationalization of YPF by claiming that it would invest its capital in exploration and production of Argentina's natural resources and, at the same time, enable Repsol to sell off large percentages of its holdings in YPF.
According to the complaint, Repsol and the Eskenazis had no intention to reinvest YPF's capital into Argentina because Repsol and the Eskenazi family needed YPF to continue to pay abnormally high dividends (80 to 90 percent) for their own benefit rather than invest in the production of oil and gas through their concession contracts with certain Argentinean provinces. The high dividends were used by the Eskenazi family to pay back the “no-money down” loans it received from Repsol and certain banks to acquire its stake in YPF. Specifically, since 2006, YPF invested $11 billion in Argentina while handing out $3.5 billion in dividends. However, contrary to YPF's Horizon 2014 plan, the majority of their investment went to bolstering existing fields rather than to exploration.
The complaint further alleges that throughout the Class Period, the Argentinean government was frustrated with the way that YPF was being run. Specifically, the Argentinean government was dissatisfied that: (i) Argentina was becoming a net importer of natural gas and oil, despite having sufficient supplies of its own natural resources; (ii) YPF was not adequately producing oil and gas within Argentina; and (iii) YPF was continuing to distribute a large portion of its profits to Repsol and its other shareholders in the form of high dividends instead of reinvesting them back into the Company and its operations. By late 2011, the Argentinean government grew unhappy with Repsol and the Eskenazi family and their lack of investment. On April 16, 2012, the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (“Fernández”), announced that the government would nationalize YPF and seize a majority stake in YPF from Repsol. Moreover, President Fernández ousted defendant Sebastián Eskenazi as YPF's CEO, among others, and named two top aides to run the Company. Upon this news, trading in the Company's ADSs was halted on April 17, 2012. When trading resumed on April 18, 2012, the price of the Company's ADSs declined $6.38 per ADS, or over 32%, to close at $13.12 per ADS, on significantly heavy trading volume.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of YPF ADSs during the Class Period (the “Class”). The plaintiff is represented by Robbins Geller, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.
Robbins Geller represents U.S. and international institutional investors in contingency-based securities and corporate litigation. With nearly 200 lawyers in nine offices, the firm represents hundreds of public and multi-employer pension funds with combined assets under management in excess of $2 trillion. The firm has obtained many of the largest recoveries and has been ranked number one in the number of shareholder class action recoveries in MSCI's Top SCAS 50 every year since 2003. Please visit http://www.rgrdlaw.com for more information.
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
Samuel H. Rudman, 800-449-4900
David A. Rosenfeld