Administrative fine imposed on Imtech for failure to publish price-sensitive information in due time
On 02 December 2015, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of €1,000,000 on Royal Imtech N.V.
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* On 16 February 2016, the bankruptcy trustees of Royal Imtech N.V. have withdrawn the objection dated 12 January 2016 against the administrative fine imposed on Royal Imtech N.V., as a result of which the administrative fine has become irreversible by law.
On 20 July 2012, Imtech failed to publish price-sensitive information concerning a contract that had been signed for the (further) realisation of the Adventure World Warsaw (AWW) amusement park. This means that Imtech failed to comply with its obligation to publish price-sensitive information (Section 5:25i, second subsection, Wft).
Imtech was declared bankrupt on 13 August 2015. The AFM imposes the fine, because the offence that was committed dates from a period in which Imtech was still active. The AFM considers the fine justified also after bankruptcy. The bankruptcy does not alter the fact that the AFM takes action against such offences, whereby society's trust in a listed company such as Imtech was seriously harmed.
Publication of price-sensitive information can have an impact on the price of financial instruments or financial instruments derived there from. An issuing institution is obliged to publish this information as soon as possible so that all investors are aware of and are able to base investment decisions on the same information. It is therefore important that investors are provided with full, correct and accessible information. Transparent provision of information is very important for the efficient price-setting of financial instruments.
Imtech was aware on 20 July 2012 that AWW had failed to comply its contractual payment obligation on several occasions. What is more, AWW had been unable to acquire the intended land and the amusement park was experiencing problems arranging for financing.
Imtech did produce a press release on 20 July 2012 concerning the contract with AWW, but it only published a select section of the price-sensitive information, inter alia concerning the value of the contract and Imtech's role in the project. Imtech failed, however, to publish the other price-sensitive information concerning the contract without delay.
The AFM considers that Imtech has not demonstrated that it had a legitimate interest in postponement of publication of this information. Imtech should also have been aware that postponement could have been misleading.
Amount of the fine
The AFM considers the fine of €1,000,000 appropriate in view of the offence. When determining the amount of the fine, the AFM took into account Imtech's size before bankruptcy. The AFM is of the opinion that because the fine can no longer be collected in the present situation it is no longer relevant whether Imtech is able to actually pay the amount. The AFM also took account of the fact that the publication of the press release on 20 July 2012 violated the obligation of immediate publication of price-sensitive information (Section 5:25i, second subsection, Wft) and the ban on market manipulation (Section 5:58, first subsection, opening lines and part d, Wft). A fine was imposed on Imtech for both offences. The AFM also considers it relevant that Imtech has reached settlements with the aggrieved investors.
If you have questions or complaints, you can contact the AFM's Financial Markets Information Line: 0800-5400 540 (free of charge).
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