Aqua Metals prices $15m stock offering while 3 firms launch securities investigations

Aqua Metals, the lead battery recycling company, has raised new capital but is also being investigated by three separate law firms for possible violations of federal securities laws by the company’s officers.

On December 8 the firm announced it had priced an underwritten public offering of 7,150,000 shares at a public offering price of $2.10 per share, before fees that would have given the firm gross proceeds of just over $15 million. Oppenheimer & Co was the sole underwriter for the offering.

Also on December 8, the US firm Glancy Prongay & Murray announced it was launching an investigation into the company, saying: “On May 9, 2017, Aqua Metals disclosed the existence of several major issues with its recycling facility ramp-up. On this news, the company’s stock price fell $4.34 per share or 26%, to close at $12.31 on May 10, 2017, thereby injuring investors.”

Before this on December 1, New York-based Levi & Korsinsky announced it had begun investigations, citing the 27% fall of Aqua Metals stock on May 9. This followed “disclosures that the company would report a $4.5 million loss for the first quarter of 2017 and was facing ‘unique challenges’ as it ‘ramped up’ its operations”, according to the law firm.

On December 13, law firm Howard Smith announced it was also going to investigate the firm and made an announcement similar to that of Glancy, Prongay & Murray.

An investigation, as such, does not mean that wrongdoing has occurred but that possible evidence is being compiled that could later be shown in a court of law.

Chairman and CEO Steve Clarke said he was unable to respond to BESB saying: “We are in a SEC quiet period and cannot comment.”

During a quiet period, a publicly listed company cannot make any announcements about anything that could cause a normal investor to change their position on the company’s stock.

All this is a far cry from the numerous accolades that the firm has won over the past two years. At the end of May, for example, the firm was named Breakthrough Solution of the Year by S&P Global Platts, the energy and commodities markets information provider.

This March Aqua Metals’ stock price hit a high of nearly $22 a share. On December 11, its stock price dipped below $2.