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AP1 to launch separate legal action against Petrobras [updated]

Swedish pensions buffer fund AP1 has opted out of collective legal action in the US against the semi-public Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), whose share price has collapsed after becoming embroiled in a corruption scandal.

The pension fund was part of a filing in the US District Court Southern District of New York, dated 23 March.

AP1 is listed as a plaintiff alongside six New York pension funds: the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the Board of Education Retirement System of the City of New York, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund and the New York City Deferred Compensation Plan.

AP1’s equity stake in Petrobras was valued at SEK112.5m (€1.3m) at the end of December.

The buffer fund has total assets of SEK283bn and owns 3.7m shares in Petrobras.

Meanwhile, Dutch pensions manager APG, which last year had €124m invested in Petrobras, said it was not considering going it alone with action against the Brazilian company, as it saw no reason to do so yet.

Harmen Geers, spokesman for APG, said the manager could not provide the scale of damages yet, as the class action was aimed at the period 2004-2012.

APG still had to work out the amount it had invested in Petrobras at the time, Geers said.

To put the importance of the case into perspective, he explained that, at any given time, there were hundreds of class actions running in the US. 

He pointed out that investors were automatically part of a class action if they had a stake in a company during the target period of a class action.

Dutch pensions firm PGGM confirmed the asset manager’s holdings of €61.5m in Petrobras at the end of 2014.

Spokesman Maurice Wilbrink told IPE PGGM would remain passively involved in the class action and was monitoring how the case was developing. 

“Currently, there is no reason for an opt out,” he said.

He said PGGM expected the case to be complicated and that a conclusion was likely to take years. 

He added that, to establish the alleged damage, the exact period, listing value at the time and damage factors had to be established.

Wilbrink could not indicate PGGM’s stake in the period 2004-2012.

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