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Major investors back new CBL class action targeting directors

NZ Herald 18 October, Jenny Ruth, Business Desk

Another class action related to the collapse of CBL Corp has been launched, this one with the support of the insurer's major shareholders and targeting CBL's directors.

Those shareholders include the largest institutional investor, Harbour Asset Management, Australia-based Argo Investments and broking firm Forsyth Barr.

The suit is being backed by New Zealand-based litigation funder LPF Group. Another suit announced early this week is aimed at the company, which is in liquidation, and whichever insurance company it had, and is being funded by ASX-listed IMF Bentham.

The representative shareholders in the new suit will be Harbour and Argo.

CBL's collapse "represents one of the largest corporate failures in New Zealand's history," Harbour managing director Andrew Bascand says in a statement.

"Shareholders have lost everything. The directors of CBL need to be held to account and the out-of-pocket shareholders must be compensated," he says.

"Legal action is the only way shareholders can get any money back."

Bascand told BusinessDesk that one of the objectives is simply to get all the facts on the table.

"We want to know what the facts were and we probably have heard less than half the story."

LPF's Phil Newland says he thinks ultimately only one of the two cases will proceed. "It's unlikely that the court would allow two actions on the same matter side by side."

Asked how much his action is seeking, Newland says that will depend on how many CBL shareholders sign up and how much money each has lost.

"Our focus is on the losses that the shareholders have occasioned."



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