Leading shareholder class action law firm Maurice Blackburn announced that the class action against Aristocrat Leisure Ltd would commence in Sydney's Federal Court on Tuesday October 2.
The Chairman of Maurice Blackburn, Bernard Murphy said this class action was important for both retail and institutional shareholders of Aristocrat Leisure who had suffered huge losses as a result of the company's non disclosure of material information to the market.
The class action alleges Aristocrat misled shareholders by misstating its 2001 profits, misstating its 2002 half year profits, and by breaching its obligations to keep shareholders informed in late 2002 -early 2003 before announcing earnings downgrades that wiped $A2 billion from the company's value. The action claims damages of more than $200 million for losses suffered when the share price collapsed and shareholders sold their stock.
Maurice Blackburn is representing shareholders who bought Aristocrat shares between 18 February, 2002 and May 26, 2003. Aristocrat's share price fell dramatically from $5.19 on September 17, 2002 to $0.89 cents on May 28, 2003.
"Class actions such as this case hold company's who have misled the market and their investors accountable. Aristocrat's conduct was against the law and the shareholders are entitled to compensation."
"Timely and accurate information is essential to investors to enable decisions about how best to invest their money. If a company misleads them about the true state of its profitability, it not only deceives the market, it denies its investors the opportunity to make an educated decision for themselves," Mr. Murphy said.