Increase in settlement sum in Nufarm shareholder class action

27 November 2012
The Federal Court will be asked tomorrow to approve an increased settlement amount in the shareholder class action against agricultural company Nufarm.

Maurice Blackburn, lawyers for shareholders, announced today that the settlement application would now be $46.6million, up from $43.5million that was originally announced in August.

Ben Slade, Maurice Blackburn Principal said that he was very pleased that Nufarm had agreed to pay an extra $3.1 million to facilitate a settlement of the class action.

"The level of interest from shareholders who suffered losses during the period was greater than anticipated. Nufarm has come to the party and agreed to pay an extra $3.1million and we are very pleased that a greater number of shareholders will receive compensation for their losses," he said.

This was an open class action, meaning that all shareholders who bought shares in Nufarm between 28 September  2009 and 31 August  2010 were able to claim under the settlement scheme agreed in August 2012. The registration process saw $3.1 million in losses claimed over and above that which was anticipated and Nufarm has agreed to pay this extra amount.

"This $46.6 million in-principle settlement agreement represents a very positive and expeditious outcome for shareholders," Mr Slade said today.

The group comprises over 3000 shareholders, including investment banks, institutional super funds, self-managed super funds and "mum and dad" investors.

Two class action claims were commenced against Nufarm - one by Maurice Blackburn in 2010, the other by Slater and Gordon in early 2011. These actions were consolidated in August 2011. They have since been jointly prosecuted by the two law firms.

The application for settlement approval will be before Justice Middleton in the Federal Court in Melbourne tomorrow (Wednesday 28 November 2012) at 9.30am.

Maurice Blackburn's class actions

Maurice Blackburn's class actions practice is the largest in Australia and has secured more than $700 million in settlements for shareholders, businesses and consumers over the past 14 years. Since 2010 Maurice Blackburn settled three major shareholder class actions against AWB, Multiplex and Centro. Maurice Blackburn is the only class action law firm to have achieved settlements over $100m including against Aristocrat ($144.5m), GIO ($112m) Multiplex ($110m) and Centro ($150m). It has also provisionally settled a case against the NAB.  The firm is currently acting in a series of other class actions for shareholders, victims of bushfires, floods, faulty products and price fixing cartels.  In March 2011 the firm settled a massive cartel claim against Amcor and Visy for $120m - the largest cartel settlement in Australian corporate history. It is also conducting a series of class actions against banks over bank exception fees.