Caltex franchisees past and present

ACA Lawyers and US based Hammond Law are continuing investigations into oil giant Caltex’s treatment of its franchisees.

Evidence has emerged of Caltex using a franchisee model that makes it very difficult for some of its franchisees to make ends meet.  After the payment of royalties, rent, wages, StarCard fees, merchant fees, accounting and electricity bills, coffee machine leasing fees, franchisees have told us that there is often nothing left, with many being forced into debt to cover costs.

If you are a current or former Caltex franchisee:

  • who has had a franchise terminated
  • has been subject to the recent audit process
  • has had a site reclaimed; or

has otherwise suffered loss in relation to a Caltex franchise, we invite you to contact us by email or telephone to discuss your experiences with Caltex on a strictly confidential basis.

Steven Lewis
Principle
steven.lewis@acalawyers.com.au
+61 2 9216 9898

 

Monica Allen
Senior Associate
monica.allen@acalawyers.com.au
+61 2 9216 9898

By conctacting ACA Lawyers you will no obligation to pay legal costs

Big step for shareholders in Spotless class action

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Integrated facilities services company Spotless now faces the prospect of its largest institutional shareholders seeking redress via a second class action led by ACA Lawyers, after the law firm announced it had secured a benchmark funding arrangement with shareholder claim management and funding-service provider ICP.

On behalf of institutional shareholders, ACA Lawyers and ICP have been investigating a claim
against Spotless since the company issued a major profit downgrade on 2 December, contrary to prior Spotless forecasts provided in August and October 2015, resulting in a drop in market
capitalisation of $961million.

Craig Allsopp, Principal at class actions firm ACA Lawyers, said Spotless shareholders who had
lost money would have access to legal representation backed by a new litigation funding model featuring benchmark commission rates.

“ICP’s funding model ensures a greater share of compensation will be put in clients’ pockets upon a successful outcome,” Mr Allsopp said.

"ICP’s model creates greater competition in the litigation funding market, providing better products for clients and driving down costs so that more money is returned to shareholders,” he said.

“ICP works solely on behalf of shareholders in ASX companies and we are confident that their
benchmark rates and Pricing Warranty will give shareholders greater returns and peace of mind.”

The team at litigation funder ICP - led by CEO John Walker - consulted with some of the largest institutional shareholders on the ASX in shaping its business model. ICP offers relatively low benchmark funding commissions of between 8 and 25 per cent, meaning a greater share of net returns go to investors upon success.

“ICP also includes a safety-net provision that offers additional investor protection by ensuring that they won’t receive any less than 50 per cent of a net recovery, after costs are accounted for, on success. These innovations are all geared towards better client recovery,” Mr Walker said.

Affected shareholders that purchased Spotless shares between 24 February and 2 December
2015 can register claims at www.icp.net.au/register-spotless. Institutional investors can request
a funding pack by emailing SpotlessClassAction@icp.net.au

Media inquiries:
Craig Allsopp at ACA Lawyers    
T 0414 874 750 E craig.allsopp@acalawyers.com.au

John Walker at ICP                      
T 0414 589 531 E jwalker@icp.net.au

Nick Owens, Director, Sefiani - Communications Group  
T 0421 977 062 E nowens@sefiani.com.au

Are you an investor with concerns over the recent Bellamy's Australia Ltd market announcements?

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If you purchased Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) shares between 14 April 2016 and 1 December 2016, inclusive, then you may be eligible to join a proposed class action. Bellamy’s Australia Limited (Bellamy’s) is a public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

On 2 December 2016, Bellamy’s announced to the market a significant revenue downgrade. Since then its shares have been suspended from quotation on the ASX at the company’s request, pending a further announcement regarding the impact of trading conditions in China on its financials for the 2017 financial year. So far the announcements made by the company have resulted in a reduction of at least $500 million in shareholder equity.

ACA Lawyers is investigating whether Bellamy’s has breached its continuous disclosure obligations and/or engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in statements made to the market. In particular, ACA Lawyers is examining statements made by Bellamy’s that its revenue and profit guidance would not be influenced by regulatory changes in China. As part of our case preparation we are in contact with potential experts in China and have obtained counsel’s advice.

In anticipation of a potential class action, ACA Lawyers is also in discussion with a number of Australian and international litigation funders who have expressed interest in providing funding for a potential class action against Bellamy’s.

Background

When Bellamy’s provided its FY2016 full year results on 19 August 2016 it stated that:

“Underpinning the sales and distribution opportunities in Australia and Asia is a supply chain team that is firmly focused on growing our supply of organic ingredients and manufacturing capacity. Strong forward planning and a commitment from our supply chain to meet the high demand for Bellamy’s products has ensured that not only have we been able to meet the exceptional growth in demand over FY16, but we will be able to supply a substantial uplift in manufacturing volumes from FY17 on.

The strong growth in revenue and earnings over the past 12 months has enabled Bellamy’s to invest back into the business during the second half of FY16 in terms of people, infrastructure and marketing. We will continue this programme, investing a further $15-20 million in FY17 to ensure we have the right platform in place to drive sustainable long-term growth and optimise long-term returns. The purpose of these investments is to build strategic platforms for long-term sustainable growth for shareholders beyond FY17.” 

Following the release of Bellamy’s FY2016 full year results, analysts at the majority of broking houses that cover the stock were tipping Bellamy’s shares would rise by between 30 per cent and 65 per cent over the next 12 months.

In its 2016 AGM presentation released on 19 October 2016, Bellamy’s made a number of positive statements about FY2017, including that:

“During FY2017 we will continue to utilise our growing earnings and cash flows to invest in our supply chain and other initiatives to drive sustainable growth and further optimise longer term returns.”

On 2 December 2016 Bellamy’s released a business update in which Bellamy’s stated:

– unaudited revenue for the period 1 July 2016 to 20 November 2016 is up 24 per cent to $93 million (compared to the same time last year);

– momentum has been tempered by temporary volume dislocation in China due to regulatory changeover and flow-on effects of restructuring the route-to-market in China impacting from late 1Q17;

– Bellamy’s 2016 Singles Day sales were stronger than compared to last years, however below expectations;

– Bellamy’s will continue to experience temporary volume dislocation until regulatory registrations are completed in China;

– the company expects EBIT margin will be moderately below 20 per cent as a result of investment to underpin long term ambitions of the company; and

– revenue for 1HFY17 is anticipated to be approximately $120 million with the expectation that 2HFY17 will be similar to the first half.

The general consensus of the market following the release of the FY2016 full year results was that Bellamy’s FY2017 revenue would rise by 45 per cent to $375 million and EBITA would rise 50 per cent to $83.3 million. The 2 December 2016 announcement stated that revenue in the first half of 2017 would be $120 million. The company also stated that the EBIT margin would be “moderately below” 20 per cent this financial year.

If you are a Bellamy’s shareholder and you would like to be kept updated on the progress of our investigation please email us at info@acalawyers.com.au.

To register your interest in the proposed class action please fill out this form. Registering your interest does not impose any obligation on you to proceed. You will be asked to sign a funding agreement and retainer at a later stage should you wish to participate in the action.

Class Action Against Macmahon Holdings Limited

NSD 1346/2015 Hopkins v Macmahon Holdings Limited

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered a registration and opt out process for the class action against Macmahon Holdings. If you acquired shares in Macmahon Holdings Limited between 2 May 2012 and 19 September 2012 you should read the important information about this process below. If you do not take any action in response to the Court’s orders you may lose some or all of your rights in this class action.

A class action has been commenced against Macmahon Holdings Limited (Macmahon Holdings) in the Federal Court of Australia by David Scott Hopkins, as a representative party on behalf of himself and all Macmahon Holdings shareholders who:

(i) acquired shares in Macmahon Holdings (ASX:MAH) between 2 May 2012 and 19 September 2012 (inclusive);

(ii) suffered loss and damage as a result of the conduct of Macmahon (as alleged); and

(iii) have not settled their claims with Macmahon Holdings.

Such persons are defined as group members.

The Applicant’s Amended Statement of Claim can be viewed, downloaded and printed here.
The Respondent’s Defence can be viewed, downloaded and printed here.

The Federal Court has ordered that a notice be published for the information of persons who might be group members and thus may be affected by the action.

This notice can be viewed, downloaded and printed here.

If you are a group member you should read this notice carefully.  Any questions you have concerning the matters contained in this notice should not be directed to the Court.  If there is anything in it that you do not understand, you should seek legal advice.

This notice is part of a court-ordered process to assist the parties to attempt to resolve this proceeding by settlement. In order to do that, the parties need to know how many group members would participate in any settlement of the proceeding, and the potential value of their claims.

Class members wishing to participate in any potential settlement of the proceeding must register their claims by 4.00 pm on 10 February 2017. If you do not register, you may lose any rights you have to compensation. You can commence the process of registering your claim by completing the form below. We will then send you an email setting out the information you need to provide to us to complete your registration for the Macmahon Holdings class action.

If you prefer, you may commence the registration process by calling us on (02) 9216 9898.

If you have questions about the Macmahon Holdings class action or the Court’s notice please email us at info@acalawyers.com.au or call us on (02) 9216 9898.

Relevant documents

Macmahon Holdings class closure notice
Macmahon Holdings opt out notice
Applicant’s Amended Statement of Claim
Respondent’s Defence

Are you now or have you in the past been a Caltex service station operator?

View our media release

ACA Lawyers and US based Hammond Law are investigating possible claims against oil giant Caltex following revelations of widespread exploitation of franchisee owners and workers over a number of years.

We are interested in speaking to current and former Caltex franchisees and workers.

Evidence has emerged of Caltex putting in place a franchisee model that makes it almost impossible for some of its franchisees to make ends meet.  After the payment of royalties, rent, wages, StarCard fees, merchant fees, accounting and electricity bills, coffee machine leasing fees, franchisees have told us that there is often nothing left, with many being forced into debt to cover costs.

ACA Lawyers is investigating the extent of Caltex’s conduct in relation to its service stations owners and workers, to determine whether a class action against Caltex should be commenced to recover losses suffered, in particular, by current and former franchisees.

We invite you to contact us to discuss your experiences with Caltex on a strictly confidential basis.

By contacting ACA Lawyers you will have no obligation to pay legal costs.

ACA Lawyers prepare to commence action against Slater and Gordon

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ACA Lawyers is finalising its investigation into a proposed shareholder class action against embattled law firm, Slater and Gordon and intends to commence proceedings.

Funding for the investigation is being provided by JustKapital Litigation Finance, a listed Australian funder, and London based Woodsford Litigation Funding.

ACA Lawyers was the first firm to announce a potential class action against the publicly listed law firm on 18 December last year.

ACA Lawyers’ investigation has identified potential misconduct by Slater and Gordon prior to its April 2015 capital raising, going as far back as the release of its 2014 full year results.

Bruce Clarke, principal of ACA, said in light of the extraordinary developments since April 2015, the firm has been investigating Slater and Gordon’s conduct back over several years.

“It is important we ensure we identify all losses suffered by shareholders that may be the result of Slater and Gordon’s misconduct,” Mr Clarke said.

“We are taking the time to ensure we make the strongest case possible to recover the maximum possible losses on behalf of Slater and Gordon shareholders.

“We are acting for all affected shareholders, being anyone who purchased shares after the release of the 2014 full year results on 12 August 2014 and prior to the release of the 2016 half year results.”

The claim period for any class action brought against Slater and Gordon by ACA Lawyers may run from 12 August 2014 to 28 February 2016.

Investors who purchased Slater and Gordon shares between 12 August 2014 and 28 February 2016, including those who took up shares in the rights issue announced on 30 March 2015, can still register their interest at www.acalawyers.com.au/slater-gordon or contact ACA Lawyers by email at info@acalawyers.com.au.

Media Contact: Bruce Clarke +61 2 9216 9898

ACA Lawyers extend investigation period for proposed shareholder class action against Slater and Gordon

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ACA Lawyers is close to finalizing its investigation into a proposed shareholder class action against embattled law firm, Slater and Gordon.

Funding for the investigation is being provided by JustKapital Litigation Finance, a listed Australian funder and London based Woodsford Litigation Funding.

ACA Lawyers announced a potential class action against the publically listed law firm on 18 December last year, the first firm to announce possible proceedings.

The investigation has been examining statements made by Slater and Gordon at the time of its $890 million capital raising in April 2015 to acquire Quindell plc’s Professional Services Division in the UK and profit forecasting for the 2016 financial year.

On 29 February 2016, Slater and Gordon announced a half year loss of nearly $1 billion including a write down in goodwill of its recently acquired UK business of $814m.

ACA Lawyers has been investigating this class action for a number of months and has now completed a detailed accounting and legal analysis. ACA Lawyers intends to commence representative proceedings as soon as possible.

The accounting analysis and other investigations have identified that Slater and Gordon’s alleged misconduct is wider in scope than previously thought. Accounting issues have been identified in Slater and Gordon’s financial statements and announcements in the period from 12 August 2014, when Slater and Gordon released its FY2014 full year results, through to 29 February 2016, when Slater and Gordon released its FY2016 half year results. The accounting issues primarily relate to valuation of business acquisitions, revenue and forecast earning

Court approval of class settlements. You want costs with that?

Be prepared to have the court run the ruler over every element of the costs being claimed as part of a settlement.

Downloadable Article

Click here – Court approval of class action settlements

This article first appeared in Precedent, the journal of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, issue 129, published in August 2015 (Sydney, Australia, ISSN 1449-7719), pp49-53.  It has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author and the ALA.  For more information about the ALA, please go to: www.lawyersalliance.com.au.