April 25, 2013
Bernstein Liebhard LLP today announced that a securities class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a class (the “Class”) of purchasers of Autoliv, Inc. (“Autoliv” or the “Company”) (NYSE: ALV) common stock between October 26, 2010 and August 1, 2011 (the “Class Period”).
The complaint charges Autoliv and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Stockholm, Sweden-based Autoliv develops, markets and manufactures automotive safety products, including airbags, seatbelts, safety electronics, steering wheels, anti-whiplash systems, seat components and integrated child seats as well as active safety systems such as night vision, vision and radar systems.
Plaintiffs allege that prior to and during the Class Period, Autoliv engaged in wrongful anti-competitive business practices with other automotive industry suppliers. These practices were designed to control the market prices of the products sold by Autoliv and others. As a result, Autoliv reported quarter after quarter of “record” gross margins and earnings during the Class Period, causing artificial inflation in its stock price and seemingly justifying the payment of millions of dollars worth of salary increases and non-equity incentive awards to the Company’s executives.
Plaintiffs further allege that by February 2011, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) had begun investigating Autoliv’s anti-competitive practices and potential antitrust violations. Between the 7th and 9th of June 2011, the antitrust authorities of the European Commission (the “EC”) raided Autoliv’s German subsidiary, seeking evidence of Autoliv’s anti-competitive misconduct. As the market assimilated the news of the EC raid, disclosed on July 8, 2011, followed closely by statements during the Company’s July 25, 2011 second quarter earnings conference that the Company had already spent upwards of $4 million on legal fees and could no longer predict what impact the antitrust investigations would have on its previously reported and future gross margins and earnings, the price of Autoliv stock plummeted, closing below $62 per share on August 2, 2011.
On June 6, 2012, the DOJ announced that Autoliv had agreed to plead guilty to price fixing of automobile parts installed in U.S. cars and to pay a $14.5 million criminal fine. In so doing, Autoliv admitted to its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels installed in U.S. cars to one automobile manufacturer and a separate conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts to another car manufacturer.
Plaintiffs allege that these known, but covert, illegal practices existed over an extended time frame and subjected the Company to material undisclosed risks, including monetary and reputational risks. These undisclosed risks are of particular significance to Autoliv since it is heavily dependent on a relatively small number of automobile manufacturers. In fact, Autoliv’s five largest customers accounted for 53% of its consolidated 2010 sales, the loss of any of which would result in a material adverse effect on the Company’s business.
Plaintiffs seek to recover damages on behalf of all Class members who invested in Autoliv stock during the Class Period. If you invested in Autoliv stock as described above during the Class Period, and either lost money on the transaction or still hold the stock, you may wish to join in this action to serve as lead plaintiff. In order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than June 17, 2013.
A “lead plaintiff” is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the court must determine that the class member’s claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as lead plaintiff. Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Bernstein Liebhard LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.
If you are interested in discussing your rights as an Autoliv shareholder and/or have information relating to the matter, please contact Joseph R. Seidman, Jr. at (877) 779-1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP has pursued hundreds of securities, consumer and shareholder rights cases and recovered over $3 billion for its clients. It has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” in each of the last ten years.
You can obtain a copy of the complaint from the clerk of the court for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.