Greenyard has reached an amicable settlement of EUR 500,000 with stock market watchdog FSMA for the dissemination of 'incorrect and misleading information' about the listeria contamination at its factory in Hungary.
In the summer of 2018, the Belgian fruit and vegetable company was confronted with a listeria contamination at its factory for frozen vegetables in Baja, Hungary. All products from the factory were recalled because Listeria was found in one of the freezing tunnels of the factory. The listeria variant from the Baja factory has been linked to 47 cases, including 9 deaths.
On July 3, Greenyard was notified of the link between the plant and Listeria, but the company did not disclose this information until ten days later. Following the communication from Greenyard regarding the listeria outbreak, the FSMA started an investigation in the context of Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 (Market Abuse Regulation). Greenyard was guilty of late dissemination of inside information, according to FSMA.
The food watchdog investigation also revealed that the press release issued by Greenyard misrepresented the seriousness of the situation. That is market manipulation. This investigation was completed and in September 2018 production was restarted in the Hungarian factory.
Greenyard has preferred to conclude a settlement without acknowledgment of guilt with the FSMA and has agreed to a settlement for an amount of € 500,000.
"This allows Greenyard to close this chapter definitively and to fully focus on its core business, following a successful transformation of the company, as well as on the continuation of the ongoing recovery of its profitability and sales growth, which is reflected in the half-year results as per 30 September 2020, which were published on 17 November 2020."
The settlement was accepted by the FSMA's Executive Committee on 1 December 2020 and has been published on the FSMA's website. Greenyard will pay an amount of € 500,000, which has no impact on its forecasted adjusted EBITDA guidance for the current financial year 2020/2021 (€ 106-110m).
For additional information:
Tel: +32 15 32 42 49