MAURICE Blackburn lawyers has welcomed a Federal Court decision today confirming that Centro Directors had breached their duties when they approved financial statements for 2006-7.
Martin Hyde, senior associate and lawyer running the class action on behalf of Centro investors, said: “The Federal Court decision reinforces the class action case. The judge has held that the directors and senior executives knew that Centro had billions of dollars in debt that was due to mature at the same time they authorised the release of the company accounts which failed to reveal the maturing debt.”
In 2008, Maurice Blackburn issued Federal Court proceedings on behalf of disgruntled shareholders, alleging that Centro Properties Group and its listed affiliate Centro Retail Group engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and breached their continuous disclosure obligations in the reporting of their June 2007 accounts.
When the two companies eventually revealed the true extent of their maturing debts in December 2007, their share prices plummeted.
The group members in the Maurice Blackburn Centro class actions, who comprise a broad range of investors, from individuals to the largest financial institutions in Australia, are seeking damages worth several hundred million dollars from Centro and from Centro’s auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.