In its recently published IPO prospectus, German chemical group Brenntag raises the prospect of "substantial fines" and the forced divestment of assets at below market prices if it is found to be in violation of antitrust rules.
The group has been embroiled in investigations in France and Germany for a couple of years and the outcome of these probes is now well overdue. Should they come to fruition in the middle of the IPO, it could prove highly embarrassing and potentially damaging to the success of the IPO. Of course, the company could be found totally innocent: we are all waiting with baited breath.
Here is a quote from the prospectus:
"We could incur substantial legal fees and potential sanctions in connection with antitrust matters. We are exposed to the risk that governmental bodies may take legal action against us under antitrust laws.We are currently subject to pending antitrust actions, including in Germany and France, and we could become subject to further public or private proceedings in these or other jurisdictions in the future. If we are found to be in violation of
antitrust laws, we could incur substantial fines or other penalties and may be required to divest assets (potentially at prices significantly below their market value or below their carrying value on our books). The legal fees we could
face in these proceedings could also be significant. Any of these consequences of one or more antitrust actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations."