There was another round of revelations in the Feltex Carpets case today, and they do not make good reading for the defendants. When I wrote about the case in March, the suggestion was that Feltex was a lemon and that most of the juice had been squeezed out already. It now appears as though the defendants knew of the sales shortfall before the IPO was launched. Oh dear. If this is correct, the directors knowingly oversold the business and misled prospective investors—which puts them is a very awkward position.
The representative action case on behalf of 3639 former shareholders is being heard by Justice Robert Dobson. It has quite a complex case—both sides have been rolling in expert witnesses—so the judgement could be weeks away. Notwithstanding this, the decision has the potential to set an important precedent for future IPO activity, not to mention the duty of care responsibilities of directors and disclosure benchmark requirements. For this reason, it is being watched closely by investors; directors; advisors; and, the Institute of Directors in New Zealand (IoDNZ)—and rightly so.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.