By Simon Miller
National Australian Bank has been ordered to invite around 230,000 shareholders to join a class action over sub-prime losses.
The Supreme Court of Victoria has also ordered the publication of notices in Australian national newspapers to notify all investors who held NAB shares between 1 January and 25 January 2008.
NAB shareholders have until 12 October to join the class action which revolves around NAB's disclosure and writedown of Aus$1.2bn ($0.78) in CDOs bought in 2006.
NAB shareholders are also looking to force the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to divulge details of secret meetings it had with NAB over the bank's dealing in sub-prime mortgage derivatives.
The demand for the release of meetings and telephone call records will be heard by Judge Tony Pagone tomorrow (04.09.2012) which will be resisted by the Australian banking regulator on the grounds that the material is confidential under its legislation.
Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Jacob Varghese told The Australian newspaper that NAB led the market to believe that a $181m provision against the CDOs, announced in May 2008, was "very conservative".
"But in July 2008, only two months later, NAB increased its total provision to Aus$1.1bn, or 90 per cent of the value of the CDOs," Varghese said. In the following days, NAB's share price fell by Aus$6, its biggest fall since the 1987 share market crash.
Varghese said the purpose of reopening the class of claimants was to enable "meaningful settlement discussions".
"It's likely there will be settlement discussions after October 12," he said.