According to the law firm press release, Rayonier manufactures cellulose specialty products that are sold throughout the world to companies for use in various industrial applications and to produce a wide variety of products, including cigarette filters, foods, pharmaceuticals, textiles and electronics.
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding Rayonier’s business and outlook. Specifically, the complaint alleges that, despite the Company’s claims during the Class Period that in 2015 Rayonier “will be able to maintain or increase [its] share of volume at each of [its] top 10 customers,” since 2013, one of its top three customers, Eastman Chemical Company (“Eastman”), had been informing Rayonier of its competitors’ pricing and had requested that Rayonier respond to declines in market pricing, leading to a protracted dispute between Rayonier and Eastman over the “meet and release” provision of their agreement. As a result of defendants’ false statements and/or omissions, Rayonier common stock traded at artificially inflated prices, reaching a Class Period high of more than $30 per share.
Then, on August 18, 2015, the Company filed a form 8-K with the SEC informing investors that the Company had filed an action against Eastman regarding its “chemical cellulose specialty products contract with Eastman.” On August 19, 2015, the Company issued a press release further explaining the dispute with Eastman. Specifically, the release stated that the language in the contract at issue involved the “meet or release” provisions of the agreement, which allow Eastman to obtain “third party offers that meet the requirements of the Supply Agreement for similar cellulose specialties products, and would require [Rayonier] to either meet such price or release the volume, thereby allowing Eastman to purchase the volume from the third party.” In addition, the release disclosed that on August 12, 2017, Eastman had filed an action against Rayonier regarding the same “meet or release” provisions in their contract. In reaction to these announcements, the price of Rayonier common stock fell $6.01 per share, or 44%, to close at $7.62 per share, on extremely heavy trading volume.
On November 13, 2017, the Court appointed Lead Plaintiffs and Counsel.