IMF Bentham Limited funded a class action filed by Maurice Blackburn on behalf of over 300 shareholders in the Federal Court of Australia against listed Tasmanian woodchip company, Gunns Limited.
The class action, filed on 20 April 2011, alleged that Gunns failed to disclose material information regarding its performance for the half year ending 31 December 2010 (1H10) as and when required by the Corporations Act (Cth) 2001 and the ASX Listing Rules and in particular that Gunns:
- failed to disclose material information from 31 August 2009 to 19 February 2010 in breach of section 674(2) of the Act; and
- engaged in misleading conduct by making express statements and by silence, in breach of section 1041H(1) of the Act.
The deterioration in Gunns' trading performance in 1H10, was alleged to have resulted principally from a significant deterioration in woodchip export markets and hence the income it derived from the export of this product.
In September 2012 an external administrator was appointed to Gunns and the proceeding was stayed as a result. Gunns subsequently went into liquidation.
A second proceeding against certain directors and officers of Gunns was instituted (NSD1021/2015) and that matter was settled by agreement between the parties in 2015. Justice Beach of the Federal Court of Australia approved the settlement on 21 March 2016 and the settlement sum was distributed to group members thereafter. The proceedings were formally dismissed in May 2017.