Boral faces shareholder class action over failure to disclose botched US business
28 May 2020
Australia’s leading class action law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has launched a shareholder class action against building materials supply company Boral (ASX: BLD) over potential breaches of market disclosure laws concerning its North American business.
The new Maurice Blackburn class action was lodged today with the Federal Court and concerns Boral’s announcements on 5 December 2019 and 10 February 2020 that it had identified financial irregularities in its North American Windows business, involving misreporting including in relation to inventory levels and raw material and labour costs.
Following these announcements, Boral's share price fell six per cent on 6 December 2020, wiping more than $370 million off the company's market capitalisation, and a further 11% on 10 February 2020.
Maurice Blackburn alleges Boral breached its continuous disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and/or engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to its North American Windows business.
Boral announced that finance personnel within the Windows business manipulated accounts and financial statements to inflate artificially the overall profitability and health of the Windows business. Boral said that the misconduct occurred over a 20 month period and that the irregularities would impact FY2020 and prior year results.
The class action alleges Boral made misleading or deceptive statements about its North America Windows business and/or whether it knew or ought to have known about the irregularities from as early as 30 August 2017.
Maurice Blackburn Principal lawyer Julian Schimmel said shareholder class actions were an important mechanism which ensured the Australian stock market operated transparently and with integrity.
“Continuous disclosure laws are designed to ensure investors know what they are investing in. It is incumbent on companies to inform the market of all relevant information relating to the operation of the business as soon as they arise,” Mr Schimmel said.
“Boral shareholders would naturally have expected a high standard from the company. If misrepresentations were made or continuous disclosure laws were breached, we will be looking to take action to assist investors once again to obtain financial redress for their losses.”
“A functioning class actions system is a deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and signals to both investors and consumers that wrongdoing comes at a price, bolstering confidence and ensuring the efficient allocation of capital in the market.”
Shareholders who purchased Boral shares between 30 August 2017 and 10 February 2020 are eligible to register with the class action with Maurice Blackburn.