Our new cases: Bottles of wine, power stations and traffic forecasts ....

published Sep 02, 2014
Since our last issue of The Shareholder, Bentham IMF Limited has announced shareholder class actions against Treasury Wines Estates and construction firm, Forge Group, and that it proposed to fund claims against Arup Pty Limited by former and current Brisconnections Unitholders.
Treasury Wine Estates

On 28 October 2013, Bentham IMF Limited (IMF) announced a shareholder class action against Treasury Wine Estates Limited (TWE) alleging misleading and deceptive conduct and breach of continuous disclosure obligations by TWE. The action relates to the performance of TWE’s US operations and its announcement on 15 July 2013 of up to $160 million of expected write-downs as a result of excess stock being held by its distribution partners in the United States.

Proceedings have recently been commenced in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

There are also proceedings against TWE commenced by Melbourne City Investments Pty Limited, a company associated with Mr Mark Elliott. For an update on attempts by TWE to strike out Melbourne City’s claim, see 'A new class action model - but will it last? Melbourne City Investments and various class actions'.

Forge Group 

On 20 February 2014, IMF announced a shareholder class action against failed engineering and construction firm Forge Group (FGE), alleging misleading and deceptive conduct and breach of continuous disclosure obligations by FGE.  The action relates to losses sustained by FGE on two large power station projects of its wholly owned subsidiary. The projects are at West Angelas in the Pilbara and Diamantina near Mt Isa.

IMF has confirmed that there are sufficient claims to make this action commercially viable.  It is anticipated that proceedings will be commenced in the near future.

Any queries regarding the TWE or FGE class actions should be directed to Tania Sulan [email protected] or +61 (0)8 8122 1010.

Brisconnections

In May 2013 IMF announced that it proposed to fund claims by former and current Brisconnections Unitholders against Arup Pty Limited.  Arup is a traffic forecaster and prepared the traffic forecasts for the Brisbane Airport Link toll road. The claims arise out of the purchase of Stapled Units in the Initial Public Offering in July 2008 pursuant to a Product Disclosure Statement issued by Brisconnections Management Company Limited.

In July 2014 IMF announced that proceedings have been filed against Arup in the Federal Court.

The science of traffic forecasting is under the microscope at present with proceedings by AMP Capital Investors against Parsons Brinckerhoff and Booz Allen Hamilton in relation to the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney being heard in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.  IMF is also funding a claim in the Federal Court against Aecom Pty Limited in relation to traffic forecasts prepared for the Product Disclosure Statement inviting investors to purchase units in the Rivercity Trusts which operated Brisbane’s first private tollway, the Clem Jones Tunnel.


Tania Sulan and Andrew Charles