According to a news article in the Cincinnati Post dated December 23, 2003, a federal judge approved a $110 million settlement to settle the federal class-action suit. With the state-derivative actions which were also settled, DPL, Inc. paid $145.5 million total.
The Complaint alleges that, during the Class Period defendants falsely represented that the Company's portfolio of financial assets, comprising approximately 25% of DPL's total assets, were "highly diversified both in terms of geography and industry" and were a hedge against the Company's energy business. Defendants failed to disclose that DPL's investment portfolio was highly concentrated in Argentinian debt securities and other securities that were highly risky. The Complaint alleges that defendants engaged in this scheme to enrich themselves. For example, in 2000 defendant Forster received $1.2 million for managing the company's financial assets and $2.1 million when the price of DPL common stock reached $26 per share.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market between March 30, 1999 and August 14, 2002, thereby artificially inflating the price of DPL securities. Throughout the Class Period, as alleged in the Complaint, defendants issued numerous statements and filed quarterly and annual reports with the SEC describing the Company's "highly diversified" investment portfolio. Defendants repeatedly downplayed the risks associated with the Company's investments by stressing the diversification of the investments, their "financial flexibility, liquidity and stability." Defendants also stated that the Company's financial assets were valued at "fair market value" and identified DPL's investment portfolio as one of the Company's "four distinct value drivers," and as a consistent contributor to the Company's earnings. As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others: (i) that the Company's "highly diversified" financial portfolio was invested in high-risk, speculative investments in Latin America, which were subject to political uncertainty and the risk of currency devaluation; (ii) that the economic crisis in Latin America was having, and would continue to have, a material adverse impact on the Company's investment portfolio; (iii) that the value of the Company's financial assets was materially overstated; and (iv) that as a result, defendants' positive statements regarding the value and status of the Company's investment portfolio and the Company's future prospects and earnings were lacking a reasonable basis when made. On July 1, 2002, the Company shocked the market by announcing that it would be revising its earnings estimate for the year 2002 because its previous estimates assumed "a return to normal weather, modest recovery of the economy reflected in retail sales, an increase of wholesale process and political stability," which, according to the Company, did not occur. Particularly, the Company announced that it will be forced to write down its financial assets by approximately $110 million after tax, or $0.92 per share, because of the "uncertainty and instability" surrounding the future of the economy in Latin America, particularly in Argentina. Following this announcement, on July 2, 2002, the next day, shares of DPL fell $4.68, or 22% to close at $21.57 per share, on extremely heavy trading volume. Subsequent disclosures, through and including August 14, 2002, provided additional details regarding the nature of the Company's investments, which until that time, had not previously been revealed to investors.
This case was originally filed in state court. On August 5, 2002, the Court entered the Defendant’s Notice of Removal, removing the case from the state court to federal court.