26 – Risks from litigation and claims
On August 12, 2014, Metrogas S.A., Chile, filed its Statement of Claim in the arbitration proceedings initiated in May 2013 against Wintershall Energía S.A., Argentina (WIAR), Total Austral S.A., Argentina, and Pan American Energy LLC, Argentina. The defendants, as sellers, concluded a natural gas supply contract with Metrogas in 1997. Metrogas claims damages valued in an amount of €220 million as a result of insufficient gas deliveries. WIAR’s share of supply in the contract is 37.5%. The defendants submitted their response to the proof of claim on December 10, 2014. The first witness and expert hearing is scheduled for May 2016. The defendants are of the opinion that Metrogas does not have any claim for damages.
BASF Corporation has potential liability under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, and related state laws for investigation and cleanup at certain sites. The Lower Passaic River Study Area (LPRSA) is one such site comprising the lower 17 miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey. BASF Corporation, along with more than 60 other companies (The Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group, CPG), agreed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the LPRSA. Based on the remedy concept proposed by the CPG and BASF’s estimates of its share of these costs, BASF now considers its portion to be immaterial. It is currently anticipated that the final decision on the remedy for the lower portion of the LPRSA will be taken in the course of the year 2016, with a decision for the upper portion thereafter.
Since November 2014, a putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York has been pending against BASF Metals Limited (BML), along with other defendants, alleging violations of antitrust and commodities laws stemming from the price discovery process for platinum and palladium. BASF Metals Limited, based in the United Kingdom, and the other three defendants are accused of improper conduct concerning the calculation of the market prices of platinum and palladium. Four additional lawsuits were filed between November 2014 and March 2015. All these matters were consolidated, and a Second Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint was eventually filed in July 2015. This Complaint also names as a defendant, among others, BASF Corporation. On September 21, 2015, defendants filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss the Second Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint, and BML and BASF Corporation filed individual motions to dismiss. In addition, a pro se complaint with similar allegations was filed in the same court in September 2015, and is currently on a separate schedule than the consolidated action. In spring 2015, the European Commission conducted investigations into the allegation of anticompetitive practices in precious metal spot trading within the E.U. and European Economic Area made toward BASF and various banks. This investigation has not yet returned results.
Furthermore, BASF SE and its affiliated companies are defendants in or parties to a variety of judicial, arbitrational or regulatory proceedings on a recurring basis. To our current knowledge, none of these proceedings will have a material effect on the economic situation of BASF.