Anexo Group Notes High Court Judgment re. Volkswagen

Anexo Group

Anexo Group plc (LON:ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, has noted the judgment announced on 21 December 2021 in the High Court of Justice regarding the class action against Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries (the ‘VW Emissions case’). The judge found against the application by VW to strike out the class action claim against them.

Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman of Anexo, commented:

“The Board is pleased that the High Court has ruled VW’s attempt to strike out the deceit element of the claims against it to be without merit. This follows the ruling against them last year. It is now incumbent on VW to acknowledge its responsibility in this matter and agree a settlement with all those affected by its actions, as it has done in many other jurisdictions.

“We continue to investigate the pursuit of similar claims against other manufacturers. These have the potential to be of significant value to claimants and to the Group.”

Background

A preliminary judgment was announced on 6 April 2020 in the High Court of Justice regarding the class action against VW and its subsidiaries. Mr Justice Waksman ruled that VW subverted key air pollution tests by using special software to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides under test conditions. The High Court ruling applied not only to VW cars but also to those manufactured by Audi, SEAT and Skoda. VW was refused leave to appeal against this judgment, but instead brought an action to have a significant element of the class action struck out. This has now been dismissed by Mr Justice Waksman.

A specialist team within the Group’s legal services division, Bond Turner, is acting on behalf of a number of individuals who have registered their intention to pursue a claim against VW. A number of these clients have been acquired through their status as past customers of the Group and others have contacted Bond Turner following a marketing campaign which was predominantly conducted through social media channels. The total number of claims currently being handled by Bond Turner stands at around 15,000. Some of the costs involved in the acquisition of claimants have been covered by specialist litigation funding.

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VW has previously been involved in and settled a number of legal actions concerning emissions in various jurisdictions globally and the quantum of damages awarded has varied widely. In the US, individual settlements included a number of options and the compensation packages were set at various levels depending on the age and model of vehicle involved, with the sums ranging from US$5,100 (£4,150) to over US$40,000 (£32,520). In Germany, there was a similar range of options depending on the age and model of the vehicle involved, and the sums ranged from €1,350 to €6,257 (£1,190 to £5,540). In Australia, the settlement sums varied from AU$1,589 to AU$6,554 (£800 to £3,290).1

In the event of a settlement being agreed, Bond Turner would be entitled to claim a percentage of any damages awarded to each of its clients, as well as legal costs. Given the wide range of previous settlement levels, the Board considers that it would be inappropriate to give any guidance on the potential value of individual claims. 

The Board continues to believe that, in the event of a settlement, the percentage of potential damages and associated costs accruing to Anexo, after deducting the repayment costs of litigation finance, would have a significant positive impact on the Group’s expectations for profits and cash flow for the relevant accounting period. There is no certainty that a settlement in favour of Bond Turner’s clients will be reached, nor is there any guarantee that such a settlement would include financial compensation.

The Board continues to monitor the situation and will make further announcements as and when appropriate.

Exchange rate as at the date of settlement

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