Panel Holds Over ALQ Proceedings [07/08/2001] The Takeovers Panel

Wednesday 7 August 2001

PANEL HOLDS OVER ALQ PROCEEDINGS

The Panel has today decided to hold over sine die its proceedings in relation to the application made on 12 July, 2001 by Liquorland over its bid for Australian Liquor Group (ALQ).

The interim order that the Panel made on 17 July, and later modified and extended, has now lapsed. That interim order directed Liquorland to pay into an interest bearing trust account the money owing to the ex-directors of ALQ and their associates for ALQ shares sold into Liquorland's takeover bid. The money, and accrued interest, was to be paid out in 14 days, unless otherwise ordered by a court.

The Panel has been informed that Liquorland has initiated proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria, and that the court has made consent orders further restraining payment of that money to ALQ directors.

Liquorland alleged that disclosure by ALQ during Liquorland's bid of its financial performance had been inadequate. It applied for an interim order restraining the payment by it of the bid consideration to all shareholders of ALQ. It also applied for a declaration of unacceptable circumstances and final orders. The Panel made the interim order affecting payment to the ex-directors, and their associates. It made no order concerning the payments to other ALQ shareholders.

The Panel said in its reasons that the court appeared a more appropriate forum to resolve Liquorland's allegations and to make orders for any compensation or damages. The Panel made it clear that it had made no decision on the merits of those allegations, which have yet to be tested.

The Panel has indicated to the parties that it would be prepared to accept further submissions if parties sought to revive the matter in the Panel (subject to the appropriate time limitations)

The sitting Panel is Ms Alice McCleary, Mr David Gonski, Ms Carol Buys.

Nigel Morris
Director, Corporations and Securities Panel
Level 47 Nauru House, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: +61 3 9655 3501
nigel.morris@takeovers.gov.au