Access to shareholders register

In IMF (Australia) Ltd v Sons Of Gwalia Ltd (Administrator Appointed) [2004] FCA 1390, IMF sought court approval to approach past and present shareholders of Sons of Gwalia who may have acquired their shares on the basis of a misleading picture of the company’s financial strength painted by alleged non-disclosure of the state of its gold reserves and its commitments under gold hedging contracts.

IMF wished to invite shareholder participation in collective recovery action against the company.

The Court held that the proposed use of the Share Register information is prohibited by s 177(1) of the Corporations Act and is not exempted by the provisions of s 177(1A).  This conclusion relates only to limitations on the use of information about shareholders obtained from the company’s Share Register.  It has nothing to say about other ways of bringing proposed recovery action to the attention of shareholders and inviting their participation.

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