The Klein Law Firm announces that a class action complaint has been filed on behalf of shareholders of Vertex Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTNR) who purchased shares between April 1, 2022 and August 8, 2022. The action, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, alleges that the Company violated federal securities laws.
In particular, the Vertex lawsuit alleges that (a) prior to the acquisition of the oil refinery in Mobile, Alabama, defendants had 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. These hedges severely limited Vertex’s ability to capitalize on the record-high crack spreads that existed at the time of the acquisition and resulted in over $90 million in losses in the second quarter of fiscal year 2022; (b) prior to the acquisition of the Mobile refinery, defendants had entered into an inventory intermediation agreement with the investment bank Macquarie Group, whereby Macquarie purchased (from third parties), owned, and sold (to Vertex) all crude oil inventory to be used at the Mobile refinery and also purchased (from Vertex), owned, and sold (to third parties) all refined fuel inventory produced at the Mobile refinery. The strict terms of the arrangement, including requiring Vertex to purchase hedges to protect Macquarie’s position in holding the crude and refined inventory, combined with the fact that the oil market was in a state of backwardation in early 2022, resulted in Vertex incurring significant fees and inventory losses. The losses, which began as of the April 1, 2022 acquisition date, totaled $23 million during the second quarter of fiscal year 2022; (c) prior to the acquisition of the Mobile refinery, defendants had entered into an inventory purchase agreement with Shell Oil as part of the Mobile acquisition agreement. Vertex had anticipated purchasing approximately $100 million of crude oil and refined fuel inventory. Immediately prior to the closing of the acquisition, Vertex learned that pursuant to the terms of the purchase agreement, it would be required to purchase substantially more inventory from Shell Oil, totaling $164 million. Due to the state of backwardation in the oil market, Vertex was forced to pay Shell Oil above-market prices for the additional crude oil inventory. The additional Shell Oil inventory purchase triggered $13.3 million in inventory losses at or around the time of the acquisition; (d) immediately following the acquisition of the Mobile refinery, Vertex experienced production issues that caused significant shortfalls in refined fuel volumes. The production issues resulted in $8 million of lost profits during the second quarter of fiscal year 2022; (e) following the acquisition of the Mobile refinery, defendants overstated the purported profit margins that could be achieved at the refinery. Defendants represented that the “3-2-1 crack spread” was the appropriate benchmark for the Mobile refinery; however it was later revealed that the “2-1-1 crack spread,” which resulted in lower profits per barrel of production, was the more accurate profit benchmark for the Mobile refinery; and (f) as a result of the above misrepresentations and concealed facts, the Mobile refinery did not “generate strong EBITDA]” “[d]uring the first 30 days of operations,” and the Mobile refinery transition was not “seamless.”
Shareholders have until May 2, 2023 to petition the court for lead plaintiff status. Your ability to share in any recovery does not require that you serve as lead plaintiff. You may choose to be an absent class member.
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