Investors including Swedish buffer fund AP1 and Dutch agricultural sector pension fund Bpf AVH have agreed a settlement with Petrobras in four individual securities actions brought in the US, following the bribery and fraud scandal at the Brazilian state oil giant.
The lawsuits were filed in the US district court for the Southern District of New York.
They were led by the PIMCO Total Return Fund, the Dodge & Cox International Stock Fund, the Janus Overseas Fund and Al Shams Investments.
PIMCO is one of the largest bondholders in the Petrobras group, and Dodge & Cox is one of the largest shareholders after the Brazilian federal government and affiliated entities.
Other European plaintiffs include the London Borough of Hounslow Superannuation Fund, and Hampshire County Council Global Equity Portfolio.
US retirement funds bringing the action include the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Boeing Company Employee Retirement Plans Master Trust.
AP1 told IPE the reason it became a plaintiff was because of its “assessment of a more favourable outcome of the case”.
The Petrobras scandal erupted after prosecutors and federal police in Brazil first uncovered a price-fixing cartel in 2014.
The cartel operated between several firms carrying out construction and service work for Petrobras, whose executives decided between themselves which company would “win” a particular contract.
The work was then carried out at inflated prices, with some of the surplus used to bribe Petrobras officials and Brazilian politicians.
The plaintiffs in the four lawsuits had bought Petrobras securities, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, between 16 October 2010 and 15 May 2015.
These included both American depositary receipts (ADRs) and bonds.
The plaintiffs claimed the price of these securities had been artificially inflated because of the fraud, and that Petrobras had made false statements of material fact and omitted adverse information relating to its financial position and its anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies.
As the scandal unfolded, the value of Petrobras securities fell substantially.
In a press release, Petrobras said it would recognise a provision in its third-quarter financial statements as a result of the settlements, and the status of ongoing negotiations with certain other individual plaintiffs.
At present, the company expects the provision to amount to $353m (€318m).
The oil company said: “Petrobras denies all allegations of wrongdoing and continues to defend itself vigorously in all pending actions. The settlements, the terms of which are confidential, are aimed at eliminating the uncertainties, burdens and expense of ongoing litigation.”
A number of similar lawsuits against Petrobras, including the action led by the Universities Superannuation Scheme, are still in progress.