The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settled charges against Compass Minerals International Inc. for misleading investors about a technology upgrade that the company claimed would reduce costs at its most significant mine, but in reality, had increased costs, and for failing to properly assess whether to disclose the financial risks created by the company’s excessive discharge of mercury in Brazil. Compass is ordered to pay $12 million to settle the charges.
According to the SEC’s order, Compass repeatedly assured investors in 2017 that a technology upgrade at its Goderich mine – the world’s largest underground salt mine which is located near Ontario, Canada and hailed by the company as its crown jewel – was on track to materially reduce costs and boost its operating results starting in 2018. Compass’s statements were misleading because they failed to tell investors that costs at the mine were increasing rather than decreasing, which substantially undermined the projected savings. The SEC also found that Compass misled investors by overstating the amount of salt it was able to produce at Goderich.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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