According to a Nov. 3 report from CBC, Buhler Versatile has been sued by PFG Australia, an Australian distributor of ag equipment including the Versatile tractor line. PFG has operations in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. and received the exclusive rights to distribute Deutz-Fahr tractors in the U.S. in 2017. The company has 380 employees.
The lawsuit states Buhler Versatile had notified PFG Australia that it "had decided to completely stop its export operations, projects and plans related to the supply of equipment outside North America" in mid-September and that the manufacturer "is acting in bad faith in refusing to comply with the terms of the contracts for an ulterior purpose, namely, in attempting to advance its own interests in the North American market."
The lawsuit states PFG Australia's latest order from Buhler Versatile was for more than 100 units.
PFG Australia is seeking around $26 million in damages, including the following outlined by CBC:
- Nearly $3 million for PFG's investment in a new "state-of-the-art" facility in Melbourne, which partially assembles, services and distributes Buhler Versatile products.
- More than $5.5 million for lost retail and wholesale profits.
- Just under $9.6 million for injury to PFG's reputation.
- Unspecified special damages to cover layoff costs under Australian employment law.
- More than $318,000 for punitive damages.
Buhler Industries released a statement on Nov. 3 acknowledging its subsidiary had received the claim and that the manufacturer had no comment on the merits of the claim.