Vertex Energy is an energy company focused on the production and distribution of conventional and alternative fuels. In early 2021, Vertex Energy announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire an oil refinery located in Mobile, Alabama and a key component of the acquisition was Vertex Energy’s plan to convert a portion of the refinery’s 91,000 barrel-per-day output to renewable diesel fuel, which was expected to generate higher profits than the refinery’s conventional gasoline and diesel fuel outputs.
But as the Vertex Energy class action lawsuit alleges, unbeknownst to investors, immediately prior to the closing of the Mobile acquisition, defendants had entered into, or were a party to, a series of transactions that dramatically capped the new plant’s profitability and would, in fact, lead to significant losses immediately following the acquisition. These transactions, which in some instances were required pursuant to the financing arrangements Vertex Energy had entered into, resulted in over $125 million in losses during the Class Period.
On August 9, 2022, Vertex Energy disclosed a net loss of $63.8 million during the second quarter of 2022. Vertex Energy also revealed that adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”) for the Mobile refinery, even after adjusting for certain incurred losses, was only $63.6 million, compared to the guidance given just three months prior for EBITDA of $120-$130 million in the second quarter, a total shortfall of 50%. Vertex Energy also withdrew its financial guidance for the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and fiscal year 2023. On this news, the price of Vertex Energy common stock fell by approximately 44%, damaging investors. The stock price continued to fall in subsequent days as the market digested the news, reaching a low of just $7.05 per share on August 11, 2022, roughly 50% below the closing price on August 8, 2022.