Woolworths potential class action

Australia’s leading class action law firm, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, with support from litigation funding giant IMF Bentham, is proposing to run a shareholder class action on behalf of aggrieved Woolworths investors who suffered losses due to alleged breaches of disclosure obligations.

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Subject to sufficient interest from affected Woolworths shareholders and the completion of further investigations, a shareholder class action run by Maurice Blackburn with the support of IMF Bentham is proposed against Woolworths on behalf of investors who acquired shares in Woolworths anytime between 27 November 2014 and 26 February 2015 and held at least some or all of those shares at the commencement of trading on 27 February 2015.

Background to the allegations

  • 29 August 2014 Woolworths provides guidance that FY15 NPAT expected to increase 4% to 7%.
  • 8 October 2014 Woolworths was aware of significant risks to forecast profit.  Its defence in ACCC proceedings admits that it:
    Forecast that there would be a variance on budget for gross profit before freight for the Woolworths Supermarkets business, for the half year to 31 December 2014, in the amount of approximately $53 million…”
  • 21 November 2014 Commercial Director of Woolworths Supermarkets instructs internal team to identify ways in which Woolworths could mitigate the risk that the supermarkets business would not meet its budgeted gross profit for the half year ending 31 December 2014.
  • 27 November 2014 Guidance emphatically reaffirmed at the Woolworths Annual General Meeting at which then Chairman Ralph Waters stated: 
    “Earlier in the year management provided guidance for the 2015 financial year of growth in net profit after tax of between 4% and 7%. Following a recent review by the Board, I am pleased to reaffirm our previous guidance today.”
  • 27 February 2015, Woolworths Ltd (ASX: WOW) announced that it was downgrading its previously issued guidance of growth in its Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of 4% to 7% for Financial Year 2015.

Registration is free and without obligation.

To find out more about the class action investigation, contact the IMF Client Liaison Team by email on 402702@imf.com.au or free call 1800 016 464 or register a claim with IMF.

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