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Centro's $200m class action finalised

Centro's $200m class action finalised

The Federal Court in Melbourne has approved Australia’s biggest ever settlement in a class action, the $200 million deal for Centro shareholders.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn said the case sends a strong message to corporations and their advisers.

Class Actions principal at Maurice Blackburn, Martin Hyde, said the settlement was strongly endorsed by the court, and was a significant win for the shareholders involved in the class action.

"Our clients range from individuals through to the country's largest financial institutions and today we can give them confirmation that the Court has approved the record settlement” Hyde said.

“This is the biggest class action settlement in Australian legal history, and it will be very satisfying to tell our clients, some of whom lost their life savings on Centro, that they will now see money returned to their accounts.”

In handing down his reasons for judgement (link included below), Justice Middleton said he considered and agreed with independent legal opinions that the settlement was fair and reasonable, adequate and in the interests of the group members as a whole.

“Today Justice Middleton has acknowledged that this record-breaking settlement has avoided further costly and lengthy legal proceedings. The settlement is a very good result for our clients,” Mr Hyde said.

"The case sends a strong message that corporations and their advisors will be held accountable to shareholders if their conduct falls short of what the law requires."

Maurice Blackburn said it, and litigation funders IMF (Australia), have fought a long battle on behalf of shareholders who lost money in Centro Properties Group and its listed affiliate Centro Retail Group.

The case involved allegations that Centro and its former auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and that Centro breached its obligations of continuous disclosure, the firm said.

Justice Middleton said that if the case had continued, the final result would hinge on difficult and controversial aspects on law, “and appeals would be inevitable”.




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