Class-action lawsuit has been filed against infrastructure products

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A class-action lawsuit has been filed against infrastructure products maker Armtec Infrastructure Inc. alleging the company broke securities laws when it instituted a dividend, later to cancel it after it became unsupportable by earnings.

The suit filed in Ontario Superior Court on behalf of investors who bought shares between March 30 and June 8 alleges that Armtec should have known when it raised capital in the public market that it did not have sufficient earnings to pay dividends.

"Through this class action, we hope to determine precisely what the defendants knew about Armtec's financial results when Armtec raised more than $50 million from investors," lawyer Jay Strosberg of Sutts, Strosberg LLP said in a statement.

Armtec shares plummeted earlier this month after the Ontario-based announced a widening of its first-quarter loss and the planned suspension of the 40 cent per share dividend. The dropped 22 cents or six per cent to $3.43 in early trading Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Class action lawsuits must be certified by a judge in order to proceed. None of the allegations against Armtec have been proven in court.

In a statement issued late Friday, Armtec said it was "confident that there are no grounds for a lawsuit to succeed."

"If, however, this suit proceeds, Armtec will defend it vigorously based on, amongst other things, Armtec's disclosure of the risk factors associated with its business and to the payment of a dividend."

The Guelph-based company, which makes construction materials such as precast concrete and tubing, said business was hurt by an unusually late and wet spring across the country during the quarter and ended up with a payout significantly in excess of free cash flow.

The company said it had to meet certain terms in its credit facilities and meet earnings tests on senior notes to be permitted to pay dividends.

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