Anexo Group plc (AIM: ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, notes the judgment announced on 21 December 2021 in the High Court of Justice regarding the class action against Volkswagen AG ('VW') and its subsidiaries (the 'VW Emissions case'). The judge found against the application by VW to strike out the class action claim against them (the 'Deceit' claim).
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."
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.
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.
1 Exchange rate as at the date of settlement
For further enquiries:
Anexo Group plc
+44 (0) 151 227 3008
Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman
Mark Bringloe, Chief Financial Officer
Nick Dashwood Brown, Head of Investor Relations
Arden Partners plc
(Nominated Adviser and Broker)
John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Louisa Waddell (Corporate)
Tim Dainton (Equity Sales)
+44 (0) 20 7614 5900
Ed Walsh/Dominic Morley
+44 (0) 20 7886 2500
Notes to Editors:
Anexo is a specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider. The Group has created a unique business model by combining a direct capture Credit Hire business with a wholly owned Legal Services firm. The integrated business targets the impecunious not at fault motorist, referring to those who do not have the financial means or access to a replacement vehicle.
Through its dedicated Credit Hire sales team and network of over 1,100 active introducers around the UK, Anexo provides customers with an end-to-end service including the provision of Credit Hire vehicles, assistance with repair and recovery, and claims management services. The Group's Legal Services division, Bond Turner, provides the legal support to maximise the recovery of costs through settlement or court action as well as the processing of any associated personal injury claim.
The Group was admitted to trading on AIM in June 2018 with the ticker ANX.
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