COML2020: A Client Has Come To You To Ask About Listing Her Public Company: Companies And Partnership Law, USA, Australia

University UniSA
Subject COML2020: Companies And Partnership Law

Question 1 – Short Explanation

A client has come to you to ask about listing her public company. She has read that the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) contains a significant number of rules regarding the continuous disclosure obligations of publicly listed companies. In your own words, explain to the client why listed public companies have continuous disclosure obligations?

Question 2 – Problem Solving 

Note: You will find the use of IRAC/ILAC with headings, which will help you to structure the answer to this question. While the scenario may seem long it is designed to provide background to help you answer the question.

Liam is a 20% shareholder in a company that was set up to operate a car sales yard. The remainder of the shares is owned 40% each by Ashley and Rick, who are married and used to be friends of Liam. All three are on the board of directors. Rick and Liam work in the car sales yard and have many years of experience in the car industry. Rick is the general manager on a fixed salary, while Liam is a salesman on a commission.

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The son of Ashley and Rick has just become a real estate agent and they want to help him out, so they propose that the company should go into real estate investment. None of them has experience in this area, but Ashley and Rick pass a resolution at a board meeting (opposed by Liam) to start a real estate investment business and to fund it by selling most of the stock in the car yard. This causes car sales to plummet and Liam’s commissions to fall dramatically. Using the relevant sections of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and suitable cases, Advise Liam regarding the legality of Rick and Ashley’s decisions and actions.

Question 3 – Problem Solving 

Note: You will find the use of IRAC/ILAC with headings, which will help you to structure the answer to this question. While the scenario may seem long it is designed to provide background to help you answer the question.

Happy Hotels Co Ltd (HH) owns hotels in each capital city of Australia. It plans to expand into larger regional towns in Australia but, at present, the board of directors has decided that, with the international tourist trade in decline, those plans will be left to the future. The company had been made aware of the sale of a small chain of three hotels in seaside towns in South Australia, but at the last board meeting, with funds not being available, the information had been discussed and put aside with no-decision.

Two of the five directors of HH, E and F, had tried to convince the other directors that real estate prices in seaside towns in South Australia were still relatively low when compared to other States, but were beginning to rise sharply. They believed the time for the company to expand was now, and that they should consider obtaining funds and buying the hotels under discussion. However, the other directors had not agreed and E and F were out-voted.

The following month, E and F investigated the hotels which had been offered for sale and purchased them themselves. A year later property prices in the towns where these hotels were had doubled, and E and F sold the hotels at a substantial profit. At the latest general meeting, a shareholder raised the issue and demanded that the board take action against E and F to recoup the profit for the company.

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