On 1 August 2012, following a Court-ordered mediation with Nufarm, Maurice Blackburn announced that a conditional settlement of the class action had been reached, subject to approval by the Court. Under the proposed settlement, Nufarm proposed to pay $43.5 million in compensation including the costs of conducting the claim.
On 27 November 2012, Maurice Blackburn announced the proposed settlement was varied to provide additional compensation for registered claimants, with Nufarm agreeing to pay a total of $46.6 million in compensation.
On 28 November 2012, the Federal Court of Australia approved the proposed settlement of the Nufarm Shareholder Class Action, including the terms of the proposed Settlement Distribution Scheme. The Court also ordered that Maurice Blackburn and Slater & Gordon jointly administer the settlement in accordance with the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
Registrations are closed
Registrations for the Nufarm Shareholder Class Action are closed and all funds paid by Nufarm in the settlement have now been distributed to group members who were eligible to receive compensation.No new group members are able to claim compensation.
Class Action Background
During the relevant period for the Nufarm Shareholders Class Action, Nufarm was an Australian-based crop protection company with manufacturing and marketing operations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Europe, North America and South America. Its business included the production and supply of agricultural chemicals throughout the world, including the sale of glyphosate products, which historically contributed to approximately one third of the company's overall revenue.
Nufarm has been licensed to sell Roundup (a Monsanto trademarked glyphosate product) in Australia since 2002. Chinese glyphosate manufacturers came online after the expiry of Monsanto's exclusive patent on glyphosate in the year 2000. In readiness for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, many Chinese glyphosate manufacturing plants closed and from August 2007 glyphosate prices soared, reaching record highs in the middle of the 2008 calendar year.
However, from around September 2008 international glyphosate prices underwent a major decline. The price of 'glyphosate intermediate' from China fell from $13 per kilogram to less than $4 in six months. In response to the decline, on 17 September 2009, Monsanto, the world's leading producer of glyphosate, confirmed that it was cutting retail glyphosate prices by up to 50% compared to the previous year.
Nufarm is a listed disclosing entity within the meaning of the Corporations Act. As such, it is required to comply with the "continuous disclosure" regime under ASX Listing Rule 3.1 and section 674 of the Corporations Act. Under these provisions, Nufarm is required to advise shareholders and the market of all information of which it was, or ought to have been, aware that might materially affect its share price. Information is likely to have a material effect on the share price if the information would be likely to influence people who commonly invest in shares in deciding whether to buy, sell or retain shares.
On 12 August 2011, a representative proceeding against Nufarm Limited was filed in the Federal Court of Australia (consolidating two separate class actions) seeking to recover losses suffered by shareholders as a result of alleged material non-disclosures and misleading conduct relating to Nufarm's glyphosate business.
The consolidated claim was brought on behalf of Nufarm shareholders who acquired an interest in Nufarm securities between 28 September 2009 and 31 August 2010 (inclusive) and who suffered loss as a result of the alleged misconduct.
The claim alleged that during the claim period, Nufarm failed to disclose the true position to the market and was therefore in breach of its continuous disclosure obligations.
The claim also alleged that various statements made during the claim period were misleading and that the company did not have any reasonable basis to make such representations.
Nufarm defended the consolidated claim, which was subsequently resolved following a mediation in August 2012.