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'Left with a sea of paper,' says judge at end of NZX, Ralec case

Ralec's counterclaim of A$14 million is for earn-outs plus bonuses.

Sophie Boot
Wed, 13 Jul 2016

The High Court judge hearing the extended dispute between NZX and the former owners of the Australian Clear Grain Exchange summed up the case by telling the lawyers involved that they would happily leave at the end of the day, while he would be "left with a sea of paper."

In the case, which commenced on May 2 and concludes today, the stock market operator claimed Clear's former owners, Grant Thomas and Dominic Pym, and their companies Ralec Commodities and Ralec Interactive misled NZX with "wildly inaccurate" forecasts when it bought the commodities trading platform for $A7 million in October 2009, with two earn-outs of A$7 million tied to performance. NZX's claim is for between A$20.7 million and A$37.6 million

Ralec's counterclaim of A$14 million is for earn-outs plus bonuses, claiming NZX and former chief Mark Weldon under-funded the business which meant it couldn't meet the targets which would trigger those payments.

The trial was initially set down for nine weeks, but Justice Robert Dobson accepted an extension mid-May to allow for the 40 witnesses who were still due to give evidence.

The case pre-dates much of NZX's existing management, having first hit the courts in 2011. The stock market operator's chief executive, Tim Bennett, has said its total legal cost will amount to between $9-10 million by the end of the trial, not including time spent on the litigation by internal staff.

Bennett also said that NZX did not believe it would make a loss from Ralec's counterclaim, and therefore had made no provision for that.

Today in court, Ralec's QC Tim North summarised Clear's arguments, with NZX's counsel replying this afternoon.

(BusinessDesk)

Sophie Boot
Wed, 13 Jul 2016
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'Left with a sea of paper,' says judge at end of NZX, Ralec case
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