Plaintiff's law firm issued a press release on February 1, 2019, announcing the filing of the lawsuit. According to the press release, Astec designs, engineers, manufactures, markets, and finances equipment and components, including aggregate crushers, pavers, asphalt plants, wood pellet plants, and related components. The Company comprises three segments: the Infrastructure Group; the Aggregate and Mining Group; and the Energy Group.
The Company’s Infrastructure Group has been involved in the wood pellet plant business since approximately 2013, when Astec began commercial production and marketing of wood pellet plants to potential customers that supply wood pellets to the utility and home-use industries. Prior to the start of the Class Period, the Company announced the sale of two wood pellet plants, one in partnership with Highland Pellets, LLC, located in Arkansas, and one to Hazlehurst Pellets, located in Georgia.
The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants made false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding Astec’s business, operations and prospects, including that its wood pellet plants suffered from significant and costly problems that prevented them from running at their promised production capacity, posing a threat to the Company’s pellet plant business, its overall financial performance, and its financial outlook. As a result of this information being withheld from the market, the price of Astec stock was artificially inflated to a high of nearly $70 per share during the Class Period.