Maurice Blackburn filed a shareholder claim on behalf of Hobbs Anderson Investments Pty Ltd against OZ Minerals Ltd in the Federal Court of Australia on 7 October 2009, with funding from IMF Bentham (then IMF (Australia)).
Slater and Gordon commenced a second claim in the Supreme Court of NSW on 24 August 2010 (later transferred to the Federal Court) with funding from Litigation Lending Services.
The claims sought compensation for losses alleged to have been caused by OZ Minerals’ breaches of share market continuous disclosure laws by failing to disclose that:
- US$560 million of US loans was required to be refinanced within a short period; and
- the true terms of its debt position during the claim periods.
The claim periods were:
- Maurice Blackburn – 1 August 2008 to 27 November 2008; and
- Slater and Gordon – 29 February 2008 to December 2008.
A series of statements made by OZ Minerals including statements that the company was in a strong financial position were also alleged to have been misleading or deceptive because they failed to reveal the short term refinancing obligation and debt information.
The claims alleged that shareholders who bought shares during the relevant claim periods:
- paid an inflated amount for their shares; and
- suffered financial loss by reason of OZ Minerals’ contraventions of the continuous disclosure provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 and by OZ Minerals’ misleading conduct.
Maurice Blackburn’s costs were $3.1m and Slater and Gordon’s costs were $1.8m when the claims settled on 1 July 2011. The Federal Court approved a settlement of both claims for $56.9m split $35.9m for Maurice Blackburn’s clients and $21m for Slater and Gordon’s clients.
1. Settlement Approval (1 July 2011).
2. Scheme costs (9 December 2011).