MAURICE BLACKBURN CASHMAN is investigating whether shareholders in AWB have a case for launching a class action against the firm to recover share price losses since the Cole Inquiry began.
Maurice Blackburn Cashman principal Ben Slade said it was clear from evidence submitted in the Cole Inquiry and information given to the ASX by AWB about its dealings with the Iraqi Grains Board that shareholders were not advised of all information that could affect the share prices.
AWB is required to comply with the “continuous disclosure” regime under ASX listing rule 3.1 and s 674 of the corporations law.
“There is little doubt that information not disclosed to the market was material and that the market has been misled by AWB. Shareholders who have suffered loss as a result of AWB’s conduct are entitled to recover those losses through the instigation of a class action,” Slade said.
AWB’s share price had dropped around 30 per cent to open at $4.60 this week, and was at $4.25 on 8 February, down from $6.40 on 12 January.
Slade said they had had “significant” interest from shareholders so far, but wouldn’t disclose how many. He said they were still investigating the feasibility of a class action, but if they were to go ahead it would be after the Cole Inquiry had handed down its findings.
Shareholders must have bought AWB securities between 22 August 2001, when AWB was listed on the ASX, and 16 January 2006 when the Cole Inquiry began.