Leading class action law firm Slater and Gordon has reached a conditional agreement with surf wear retailer Billabong International Limited to settle a shareholder class action on behalf of hundreds of Australian and international investors.
Under the proposed agreement, which is subject to Federal Court approval, Billabong will pay a total of $45 million, inclusive of legal costs, to settle the claims of class action group members.
The class action was commenced in 2015 and was pursued on behalf of approximately 730 institutional and retail investors who acquired Billabong securities between 18 February 2011 and 19 December 2011 and also registered to participate in the class action.
The proposed settlement was reached ahead of a seven week trial, which was scheduled to commence in March 2017.
Slater and Gordon Class Action Lawyer Odette McDonald said the proposed settlement was a fantastic result and class action participants will no doubt welcome the news.
“This is an excellent outcome for group members and, based on our assessment of their losses, investors will receive a strong return if the settlement is approved,” Ms McDonald said.
“Slater and Gordon’s class action was supported by a large group of current and former shareholders, ranging from small retail investors to prominent institutional investors”.
The lead plaintiff in the action was Newstart 123 Pty Ltd, trustee for the Malone Family Superannuation Fund.
Newstart Director Stephen Malone said the great result highlights the importance of class actions as a protection mechanism for investors.
"This was not something I could have pursued alone, without a class action," Mr Malone said.
“Slater and Gordon fought this litigation from day one and recovered compensation on behalf of hundreds of investors who might otherwise have received nothing.”
The proceedings were funded by litigation funder Comprehensive Legal Funding (CLF). CLF has a strong track record of funding major successful class actions including cases against Newcrest Mining, GPT, Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Nufarm, Centro and Opes Prime.
The proposed settlement will be put before the Federal Court for approval, and class members will receive details of the proposed settlement shortly. Billabong makes no admission of liability under the terms of the settlement agreement.