Following the announcement made earlier today by Petrobras (Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. - Petrobras), USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited) is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Petrobras in principle to partially settle the securities class action against Petrobras and its related entity, Petrobras International Finance Company, as well as certain of Petrobras’ former executives and directors in the Southern District of New York. Claims against Petrobras’ auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditores Independentes are still pending.
The partial settlement achieved with Petrobras for the benefit of the class as a whole is valued at $2.95 billion. This settlement, which is subject to approval by the court, represents the largest securities class action settlement in a decade. It is also the largest settlement ever in a class action involving a non-US issuer and is the fifth largest class action settlement ever achieved in the United States.
USS has, from the outset, acted as lead plaintiff in the securities class action and is one of the two classes of plaintiffs which were certified in an order by the district court issued on 2 February 2016. Whilst USS acts as class representative for the Exchange Act class, North Carolina Department of State Treasurer (N. Carolina) and Employees' Retirement System of the State of Hawaii (Hawaii) were appointed as class representatives for the Securities Act class. Pursuant to the above class order, Pomerantz LLP was also appointed as lead counsel for the class.
The above settlement reflects a substantial amount of hard work on behalf of USS, N. Carolina, Hawaii and Pomerantz LLP since the case was brought to the Southern District court of New York three years ago. USS, as well as N Carolina and Hawaii, remain committed to seeing the settlement agreement approved by the court in due course in order to ensure the best result for the class.
Jeremy Hill, Group General Counsel at USS, said:
“We have led this securities class action diligently and intensively, and we welcome this important step in the litigation process for the class. We are pleased with the settlement agreement which has been reached and which we believe is in the best interests of the class.”