Bellamy’s settles shareholder class actions for $49.7 million
27 November 2019
Australia’s leading class action lawyers, Maurice Blackburn, today announced that an in-principle settlement has been reached with Bellamy’s Australia (BAL) over alleged misleading or deceptive conduct and breaches of continuous disclosure obligations in relation to its FY17 financial performance, future growth trajectory and impacts of regulatory changes in China.
Bellamy’s has confirmed to Australian Stock Exchange that it has settled the Maurice Blackburn class action, the Basil class action, without admission of liability, together with a related class action being conducted by Slater & Gordon, the McKay class action, for $49.7 million.
Maurice Blackburn Principal Ben Slade said that the class actions alleged that investors in Bellamy’s had paid inflated prices for its shares during the claim period as a result of conduct that was alleged to be in breach of the Corporations Act. If the Court approves the settlement, compensation will be paid to eligible shareholders who purchased Bellamy’s shares between 14 April 2016 and 12 December 2016. The right to register to participate in the settlement of the class action closed some time ago. Persons who have registered to participate in the settlement will be sent further information.
On 2 December 2016, Bellamy’s announced that its anticipated revenue for FY17 would be around $240 million, lower than the $350 million that many analysts had predicted. A major reason for the lower than expected revenue was because of regulatory changes in China, which had resulted in lower than expected sales and an oversupply of infant formula.
After the announcement, Bellamy’s share price declined substantially. On 2 December 2016, Bellamy’s shares opened at $12.09 and closed at $6.85. Bellamy’s shares were placed in a trading halt until 11 January 2017.
On 11 January 2017, while the shares were still in a trading halt, Bellamy’s provided a further market update which disclosed that because of lower than expected demand for Bellamy’s infant formula products it was required to make ‘shortfall payments’ to its key suppliers, where minimum volume commitments under manufacturing contracts had not been met, estimated to be $11 million to $13 million per year.
When the shares resumed trading on 11 January 2017 the share value fell again to $5.35. On 12 January 2017, Bellamy’s shares fell again to $4.40. The class action was commenced in March 2017 and was funded by litigation funder ICP. It was listed for trial in August 2020.