According to a press release dated September 12, 2007, Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. (NYSE:HOS) announced that the class action lawsuit previously filed against the Company and certain of its senior executives, relating to disclosures under the securities laws, has been voluntarily dismissed by the lead plaintiffs without any payment by the Company or its insurers. An order granting the dismissal of the case has been entered by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
An Amended Class Action Complaint was filed on August 9, 2007 alleging violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act, claiming the company and certain officers and directors violated laws by "providing investors with false financial guidance that directly contradicted facts known by the defendants that the Company was experiencing a massive shortages of qualified labor as a result of the continuing aftermath of Huricane Katrina."
On May 8, 2007 the court ordered the cases to be consolidated, appointing Oakmont Capital Management and two individuals as lead plaintiffs. The selection of Schiffrin & Barroway LLP and Gardy & Notis LLP as co-lead counsel was also approved.
The original complaint alleges that Hornbeck and certain of its officers and directors violated the federal securities laws by making false and misleading statements and omissions concerning the Company's operations and expected earnings for the 4th Quarter 2006, and for fiscal 2007. On November 1, 2006, the Company reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2007 and specifically reaffirmed earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") for the fourth quarter of 2006 to range of between $39.0 million and $41.0 million and earnings per share to range of between $0.69 and $0.74. On November 6, 2006, the Company announced an offering of $200.0 million in convertible senior notes with an over-allotment of $30.0 million in principal amount of additional notes. On November 13, 2006, the Company announced that it had closed the note offering and received the offering proceeds. These aggressive projections were crucial to the completion of the note offering, but have the effect of artificially inflating the price of the stock.
The complaint further alleges that on or around January 10, 2007, the Company shocked the market by announcing that that it was revising its EBITDA and earnings per share guidance for the fourth quarter of 2006 and for fiscal 2006, materially reducing EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2006 to range between $33.0 million and $34.0 million, down from $39.0 million to $41.0 million. The Company announced it now expected that per share earnings for the fourth quarter of 2006 to range between $0.61 and $0.63, down from $0.72 to $0.77. It also expected to reduce 2007 guidance by 15 to 20 percent.
The Company was forced to admit that it had knowledge over the previous several months that operating issues had negatively impacted the Company's financial performance, including volatility in the offshore vessel day-rate, a lag in the shipyard delivery schedules for new-builds and increased turnaround time for regulatory dry-dockings, repairs and maintenance, as well as increased costs for personnel and insurance.
The complaint alleges that as a result of this unexpected news, the price Hornbeck shares slumped to a 52-week low in early trading on January 11, 2007 and the stock was down $7.11, or 21.2%, on markedly increased volume.