Mexican court justices have ruled in favor of U.K. investment firm Infund LLP by freezing 7% of Grupo Mexico, SAB de CV’s (GMex) outstanding equity, pending the end of litigation against the company and its CEO, Germán Larrea Mota Velasco.
The civil suit alleges controlling majority shareholder Larrea – No. 40 on “Forbes 2013 World’s Billionaire List” and third-wealthiest man in Mexico—violated a “commercial commission contract” by refusing to honor a 2003 securities purchase by Infund for $75 million in GMex Series B, Coupon 5 shares.
The disputed securities, according to to the lawsuit and GMex public filings from 2006 and onwards, have since appreciated in value to more than $2 billion, representing 7% of GMex’s outstanding equity—while exceeding Larrea’s 51% controlling stake in the firm.
GMex is a $24 billion global enterprise operating railroads and mines throughout across Mexico, the U.S. and Latin America through units including the Americas Mining Corp., Asarco and Southern Peru Copper Corp.
In 2003, the filings show GMex attempted to ease a massive liquidity crunch stedmming from slackening worldwide copper demand by raising $230 million through a limited securities offering.
At that point, the documents said, Infund, managed at the time by Hector Garcia Quevedo – a longtime confidant to Larrea family patriarch Jorge Larrea—sought to subscribe for some 65 million GMexico Series B Coupon 5 shares via the “commercial commission contract” which required a $75 million advance; this took place alongside a simultaneous securities transfer.
Court records, however, show the younger Larrea kept the shares in his own accounts despite Infund’s attempts to settle the trade. “Without Infund’s subscription, Grupo Mexico’s capital raise would have failed,” said Infund spokesman José Antonio Marván Lizardi in a statement.
“The facts are straightforward,” he added, “Infund fulfilled its $75-million funding obligation as part of Grupo Mexico’s vital capital raise but never received the shares for which it paid; it is time for this to be settled.”