OZ Minerals class action
On 1 July 2011, the Federal Court of Australia gave approval for a $35.9 million plus costs settlement of the class action brought by Hobbs Anderson Investments against OZ Minerals.
Maurice Blackburn filed the shareholder claim Hobbs Anderson Investments Pty Ltd v OZ Minerals Ltd in the Federal Court of Australia on 7 October 2009 with funding from Bentham IMF (Australia) Limited. The claim sought compensation for more than 1,600 shareholders for losses alleged to have been caused by OZ Minerals' breaches of share market continuous disclosure laws by failing to disclose that US$560 million of US loans was required to be refinanced within a short period and by failing to disclose the true terms of its debt position during the claim period 1 August 2008 to 27 November 2008.
A series of statements made by OZ Minerals including statements that the company was in a strong financial position were also alleged to have been misleading or deceptive because they failed to reveal the short term refinancing obligation and debt information.
The claim alleged that shareholders who bought shares during the claim period paid an inflated amount for their shares and suffered financial loss by reason of OZ Minerals' contraventions of the continuous disclosure provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 and by OZ Minerals' misleading conduct.
Maurice Blackburn Principal Ben Slade said: "When shareholders claim compensation for losses caused by a company's alleged failure to comply with its disclosure obligations, they perform an important role in Australia's corporate governance regime."
Maurice Blackburn's costs were $3.1 million. Law firm, Slater & Gordon, which had commenced a similar class action against OZ Minerals in August 2010, also received approval for a settlement of its claim for $19.2 million and $1.8 million costs.
The class action was closed to new Group Members in October 2010. Payments were sent to eligible Group Members in December 2011 and January 2012.