Leighton class action tipped for court

By a staff reporter 
A class action against Leighton Holdings Ltd over its near billion-dollar profit downgrade three years ago looks headed for court, after confirmation from law firm Maurice Blackburn.
The contractor said it received a letter from the firm on Thursday that it would start the action, which related to the shock disclosure in April 2011 that it expected to post a $427 million annual loss, rather than a $480 million profit. 
The profit downgrade came after the firm booked losses on its Victorian desalination plant, the Brisbane Airport Link project and had increased writedowns on its Middle East joint venture.
Maurice Blackburn is claiming that Leighton's management should have informed the market about the problems as early as November 2010, in breach of continuous disclosure provisions of the Corporations Act.
Leighton denies the claim has any "proper basis". 

"Leighton will vigorously defend any class action which may be lodged," the group said.  

Earlier this month, Leighton assured investors its finances were stable despite debt levels rising sharply in the March quarter.

While the company posted a strong net profit of $123 million for the period, the gloss was taken from it when it revealed that gearing, a measure of its borrowed money to shareholders funds, was uncomfortably high.

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