Vertex Energy, Inc. (VTNR) Misled Investors Regarding its Business Prospects
A shareholder filed a class action on behalf of all persons and entities that purchased or otherwise acquired Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) securities between April 1, 2022 and August 8, 2022, for violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Vertex is an energy company focused on the production and distribution of conventional and alternative fuels.
According to the complaint, Vertex’s primary business had historically involved collecting and processing used motor oil. In early 2021, Vertex announced it was to acquire an oil refinery in Mobile, Alabama from Shell Oil. The refinery was viewed as a “transformative” acquisition for Vertex, expected to significantly increase the Company’s projected annual revenues, from $115 million in fiscal year 2021 to a projected $4 billion in fiscal year 2023.
Vertex completed the acquisition on April 1, 2022. In announcing the completion of the acquisition, the Company touted its expectations for production. Then, on May 10, 2022, just 40 days after operating the refinery, Vertex touted its expected earnings and announced it “[will] have generated enough cash flow to have paid for the Mobile refinery and related logistic assets in less than one full quarter of operations . . . ”
However, defendants failed to disclose certain information to investors, including that defendants had: (i) entered into inventory and crack spread hedging derivatives that significantly capped the profit margins on 50% of the Mobile refinery’s expected output over the period April 1, 2022 to September 30, 2022, affecting over 6.5 million barrels of refined fuel output; (ii) entered into an inventory remediation agreement with the investment bank prior to the acquisition, which resulted in significant fees and inventory losses; and (iii) entered into an inventory purchase agreement with Shell Oil prior to the acquisition, which required Vertex to pay above-market prices and triggered $13.3 million in inventory losses.
On August 9, 2022, Vertex announced its second quarter 2022 earnings, disclosing massive losses at its Mobile refinery during the second quarter 2022, including a net loss for the Company of $63.8 million. On this news, the price of Vertex common stock collapsed by 44% on August 9, 2022. By August 11, 2022, the share price had fallen to $7.05, roughly 50% below the closing price on August 8, 2022, and over 60% lower than the class high of $18.10 per share in June 2022.
What Now: Similarly situated shareholders may be eligible to participate in the class action against Vertex Energy, Inc. Shareholders who want to act as lead plaintiff for the class must file their papers by May 2, 2023. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. You do not have to participate in the case to be eligible for a recovery.
All representation is on a contingency fee basis. Shareholders pay no fees or expenses.