Nufarm Ltd., (NUF) Australia’s biggest supplier of farm chemicals, agreed to pay A$43.5 million ($46 million) to settle shareholder lawsuits that accused the company of providing misleading profit forecasts in 2010.
The settlement agreement, reached today 14 months before a scheduled trial, must be approved by a judge before becoming final, Melbourne-based Nufarm said in a statement today
One group lawsuit alleged a forecast provided on March 2, 2010, of earnings between A$110 million to A$130 million was deceptive. The suit was filed Jan. 14, 2011, in a federal court in Melbourne by Slater & Gordon Ltd. (SGH) on behalf of Australian and international institutional and retail shareholders and followed a Dec. 24, 2010, lawsuit filed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
Nufarm cut its 2010 financial year forecast to between A$55 million and A$65 million on July 14 of that year, less than four months after its initial outlook, saying adverse weather in Australia, Europe and North America reduced demand for crop- protection products. The shares fell 28 percent the next day, the biggest decline in 16 years.
“We are pleased to put this matter behind us,” Nufarm Chairman Donald McGauchie said in today’s statement.
The cases are: Gaby Hadchiti v. Nufarm Ltd. VID24/2011. Federal Court of Australia (Melbourne).
Verbatt Pty Ltd. v. Nufarm Ltd. NSD1847/2010. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).
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