Shareholders consider class action against former Hastie directors

HASTIE GROUP'S former directors, auditor and corporate advisors could be sued by shareholders, in addition to the action already signalled by administrators, after the law firm Slater & Gordon revealed it was investigating the viability of a class action.

HASTIE GROUP'S former directors, auditor and corporate advisors could be sued by shareholders, in addition to the action already signalled by administrators, after the law firm Slater & Gordon revealed it was investigating the viability of a class action.

The firm has been approached by "dozens of affected shareholders" since Hastie collapsed in late May last year, the commercial and project litigation lawyer Ben Hardwick said.

But no case has been filed and Slater & Gordon has not yet secured any funding for action.

Mr Hardwick said the firm has been contacted by shareholders and former employees who purchased shares through a scheme, but has been waiting for the administrators PPB Advisory to release its preliminary report. The report recommends the company be put into liquidation.

"At present the shareholders stand to gain nothing from this liquidation process," Mr Hardwick said.

"In the course of its investigation, Slater & Gordon will seek to work with the administrators and any future liquidators of Hastie in order to advance the interests of Hastie's shareholders," he said.

In a report released on Monday, PPB revealed there could be grounds for the former Hastie directors to be questioned in a public examination, and recommended that a liquidator investigate whether they breached their duties. It also raised concerns about the work done for Hastie by its auditor, Deloitte, and the corporate advisers Macquarie Capital and UBS.

Hastie Group's shares soared as high as $40 during its seven years as a listed company. They were trading about $10 in early 2011 when the board downgraded earnings by $23 million and announced it was considering a capital raising. The shares last traded at 16ยข.

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