Macquarie faces class action

Tasmanian farmers have launched action against Macquarie over a failed Gunns timber scheme

Macquarie Group Ltd faces a class action from 110 Tasmanian farmers who have plantation trees on their land that are part of investment schemes managed by failed timber company Gunns, The Australian reports.

According to the newspaper, lodgement of the action in the Federal Court follows Macquarie's failed bid to take control of a $500 million portfolio of six tax-efficient Gunns schemes, and the farmers allege the Macquarie offer to participate in its proposal was misleading and deceptive.

The Macquarie deeds required landowners to surrender their rights to be paid rent if the bank took over any of the schemes, in return gaining the rights to the trees on their land and a small cash settlement.

The farmers are not seeking large-scale damages but want a declaration that the bank's letter of offer was false and misleading, and therefore void, in case Macquarie resurrects its bid to gain control of the schemes, The Australian reports

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