A shareholder class action lawsuit has been filed against Autoliv, Inc. alleging the company did not disclose its anti-competitive business practices with other automotive industry suppliers. The lawsuit was filed in New York federal court on behalf of purchasers of Autoliv common stock between October 26, 2010 and August 1, 2011.
The complaint alleges that Autoliv benefited from its anti-competitive practices which led to an inflated stock price. Autoliv announced “record” gross margins and earnings which justified millions of dollars worth of salary raises and non-equity incentive awards to executives.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated a probe of Autoliv in February 2011, which ultimately revealed antitrust violations. The European Commission (EC) raided Autoliv’s German subsidiary in June 2011, seeking documents of wrongdoing.
On June 6, 2012, the DOJ said Autoliv agreed to plead guilty to price fixing of car parts installed in U.S. cars and to pay a $14.5 million criminal fine. Autoliv confessed to its position in a conspiracy to set prices of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels installed in U.S. cars to a single car maker and a separate conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts to another automobile manufacturer.
As a result of the investigations, Autoliv was unable to assess the financial impact to its previously reported financial statements, sending shares down to $62 per share on August 2, 2011.