Danica Pension and Industriens Pensionsforsikring have agreed a $41.5m (€37.4m) settlement in a US class action involving securities issued by telecommunications company NII.
Among the other plaintiffs were the State-Boston Retirement System, the Pension Trust Fund for Operating Engineers Pension Plan and the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund.
NII, based in Virginia, operates wireless voice and data networks throughout Latin America under the Nextel brand.
In 2009, NII started a transition to a new 3G network, which involved building radio antenna towers, some of which would be sold off, then leased back.
According to the plaintiffs, the subsequent financial statements painted a rosy picture of future growth, when in fact the company was using an obsolete business model, and its prospects were declining.
On 28 February 2014, NII issued a press release revealing a larger-than-expected net loss for calendar year 2013, together with a net loss of nearly 250,000 subscribers.
Investors were told the company would have to “significantly improve its operating performance and consider other options to enhance its liquidity position to meet its financial obligations and fund its business in 2015 and beyond”.
As a result, NII’s share price fell by 55%, while the market price of its debt fell by more than 10%.
The plaintiffs alleged that, because of false statements and concealments of adverse information by the defendants, the prices of NII’s securities had been artificially inflated during the class period, which runs from 25 February 2010 to 27 February 2014.
This also applied, they said, to $1.45bn worth of debt issued by NII Capital, the company’s subsidiary, in two offerings during 2011.
As a result, the plaintiffs claimed to have suffered significant losses and damages because of the decline in the market value of NII’s securities.
The defendants were NII Holdings, NII Capital, several officers and a number of banks including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Securities, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) and Deutsche Bank Securities, which were underwriters for NII’s offerings.
The case was filed in the district court for the Eastern District of Virginia before Judge Leonie Brinkema.
The settlement is subject to approval by the court in September.
Investors that believe they may form part of the class and wish to claim a share of the settlement should do so by 28 September 2016.