Airbus SE
ISIN: NL0000235190
Relevant Period: 24 April 2015 – 31 December 2020

What is this case about?

On 31 January 2020, Airbus SE (“Airbus”) and the French, U.S. and UK white-collar crime prosecutors announced that Airbus had reached settlements in order to avoid prosecution in relation to bribery and corruption. Airbus was involved in bribery practices via its employees, executives, and “business partners”, “consultants” or “intermediaries”. These individuals formed the link between Airbus and decision makers among Airbus’s potential customers. Airbus paid an amount of EUR 3.6 billion to the three authorities. Together, the settlements represent one of the largest settlements ever reached following charges of bribery and corruption.

For investors, this means that Airbus failed to comply with its legal disclosure obligations regarding its involvement in (i) the bribery practices, (ii) the institutionalisation of bribery in its operations and (iii) the significant risk that Airbus faced as a result. This risk consisted of serious reputational and financial consequences, criminal investigations, and prosecution, including the imposition of fines, profit disgorgement and other claims. Since Airbus concealed those risks for a long time, the price of its shares was inflated. The Airbus share prices were higher than they would have been had the market been properly informed.

Defendants

In addition to Airbus, the Foundation pursues claims against Airbus’s current and former CEO and CFO, the audit committee members in Airbus’s Board of Directors, and its former and current external Auditors, the Dutch branches of KPMG and Ernst & Young.

Claim period

The period during which an investor should have bought and held Airbus Shares to be able to participate in the action is the period in which Airbus’s information omissions took place. That is (at least), from 1 February 2014 to 16 March 2020. The court may determine another period.

What is the amount of damages claimed?

We estimate damages at EUR 17.59 per share in total for shares purchased before 8 August 2016 and held until 16 March 2020, inclusive.
Investors may have bought and sold shares in this period. This may lead to smaller damages per share, reflected by the relevant price drops.

How much compensation can I expect?

It is difficult to predict what compensation would be awarded by the court. Historically, recovery rates in Dutch securities cases differ significantly, ranging from 10% to close to 100% of nominal damages.

Why litigate in the Netherlands?

Airbus SE has its legal residence in the Netherlands. Airbus SE’s previous external auditor, KPMG, and its current external auditor, Ernst & Young, are also domiciled in the Netherlands. Although all former and current directors live abroad they can be sued in the same court based on the factual and legal connectiveness of the claims against these directors, and Airbus and the auditors.

How can I participate?

Your support and engagement matters as it forms a clear signal to Airbus that this matter is of interest for investors. You may sign up here under the Registration tab.

Do I need to pay any fees to participate in the action?

This action is a clear “no-win, no-fee” proposition for the investors. In case of success, we may claim up to (but not more than) 25% of the compensation paid to investors. If the case is unsuccessful the investors will not pay anything.

Why join this initiative?

The Stichting Investor Loss Compensation has the following advantages:

  • an exclusive cooperation of partners who offer to smaller investors an automated processing of data for securities purchases. This process saves time, secures the preservation of evidence and optimizes the outcome for the investors;
  • an alliance of investor groups: by representing the interests of all investors it furthers the interests of institutional investors as well as retail investors;
  • legal security: by filing its claim before the end of 2020, this action is best positioned to prevent claims which are potentially governed by German law from expiring; and
  • a broad range of defendants as the claim is directed not only against Airbus but also against former and current board members and auditors, thereby convincingly maximizing the value and the chances for recovery.

If a shareholder joins this action, does this mean that he/she is excluded from any other compensation claims either in the Netherlands or elsewhere?

If the court determines a period for opting in or opting out of pending proceedings and/or a settlement, this results in inclusion or exclusion from that action and any compensation that comes from it. We are currently not there yet but will inform investors once we get to such a junction.

By signing up with this action, you will be informed by us about all relevant updates, and secure your participation in this action. Whether this means that you will be excluded from compensation obtained elsewhere will depend on the applicable conditions. Based on past experience, potential settlements provide compensation to all registered supporters of relevant initiatives. The Foundation will be evaluating the utility of partnerships and collaborations with other initiatives on an ongoing basis in order to secure the best possible outcome for the investors.

Is there a deadline for signing up?

The legally relevant deadline would be the closing date of the opt-in period for foreign investors, which we are not at that point yet. However, registering now enables us to keep you in the loop and to assist you in preserving evidence of your claim. In the end, this may help you to receive your compensation quicker and with less hassle.

Is there a minimum amount of damage each shareholder could recover within this period?

It is too early to tell. Should we get to settlement negotiations, we will only accept a settlement outcome and recommend you to accept that outcome if we consider the settlement conditions reasonable and fair in light of all circumstances.

What is the expected length of this procedure until a potential settlement? When could a shareholder count on a potential compensation?

The length of proceedings is hard to predict. It can easily take up to several years and sometimes even longer. However, we expect a decision on certain preliminary issues by mid-2023 and if this turns out well for the action, we may see a decision on the merits of the case in the course of 2024. In the event of adverse decisions and appeals, the case can take longer.

For further information, please contact airbusinvestorclaims@drrt.com.