Class action filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 1 May 2020.
Registration is now open.
Maurice Blackburn, on behalf of our client Steven Napier, has filed a class action in the Supreme Court of Victoria against listed company Treasury Wine Estates Limited (Treasury; ASX:TWE) for engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and breaching its continuous disclosure obligations in the period from 30 June 2018 to 28 January 2020.
Am I eligible to join the class action?
You are eligible to register for the class action if you purchased shares in Treasury in the period from 30 June 2018 to 28 January 2020.
Class members are requested to note that, following Maurice Blackburn’s investigation, the claim period for the filed case has been extended. It commences at 30 June 2018, not 14 February 2019 as previously indicated, and concludes on 28 January 2020. Class members who registered with Maurice Blackburn and provided trade data for the previously anticipated claim period commencing 14 February 2019 will be contacted directly by Maurice Blackburn so that trade data for the extended period can be provided.
Signing up to the class action will not expose you to any upfront costs. All costs in the proceeding will be borne by Maurice Blackburn unless and until there is a successful outcome. In the event of a successful outcome, any costs payable by Maurice Blackburn will be deducted from, and will not exceed, any compensation that you're entitled to receive. All such costs are required to be considered and approved by the Court. No funding commission will be payable to a third party litigation funder as there is no third party litigation funder involved in the Treasury Wine Estates Class Action.
About this class action
The class action centres on Treasury’s declining performance in its Americas wine business since at least mid 2018. It follows Treasury’s ASX announcement on 28 January 2020 in which Treasury downgraded its FY20 EBITS growth forecast from an anticipated rate of 15% to 20% to 5% to 10%.
There was a significant market reaction to this announcement. Over the following two days, Treasury’s share price dropped by approximately 20% in total, with a drop of 25% on 29 January 2020 alone.
The class action alleges that Treasury breached its market disclosure obligations and engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.
In particular, the class action alleges that from at least 30 June 2018 to 28 January 2020, Treasury’s US performance was in decline and Treasury failed to disclose this or to correct representations to the effect that the performance of the Americas division would strengthen and contribute to accelerated earnings growth.
Additionally, the class action alleges that from 14 February 2019 to 28 January 2020, TWE’s FY20 earnings growth forecast of 15% to 20% was made without a reasonable basis and it failed to disclose this or to inform the market that this forecast was not achievable.
Consolidation of two class actions against Treasury Wine Estates
A second class action was filed against Treasury by Slater & Gordon on behalf of lead plaintiff Brett Stallard in respect of substantially similar legal and factual subject matter as Mr Napier’s class action.
On 15 October 2020, the Court consolidated the two class actions into a single proceeding with the effect that:
- Mr Napier and Mr Stallard are now the joint representative plaintiffs (the Representative Plaintiffs) in the Treasury Wine Estates Class Action; and
- Maurice Blackburn and Slater & Gordon (the Lawyers) are jointly named as solicitors on the record for the Representative Plaintiffs in the Treasury Wine Estates Class Action and will work together to jointly conduct the Treasury Wine Estates Class Action.
Previous $49m class action by Maurice Blackburn against Treasury was settled in 2017
This is not the first time that Maurice Blackburn has taken action to assist Treasury shareholders to obtain compensation for Treasury’s alleged breaches of market disclosure laws.
This current claim follows on from Maurice Blackburn’s earlier shareholder class action against Treasury that was successfully resolved in 2017, with a settlement of $49m in favour of class members.
Like the current claim, the previous Treasury class action concerned problems in Treasury’s Americas business. In particular, that case related to Treasury’s announcement in July 2013 of provisions to address excess inventory, including destruction of 18 million bottles of aged commercial wine held by Treasury’s distributors in the United States.
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