The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has served three infringement notices alleging Leighton Holdings failed to comply with disclosure provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 and provisions of ASX’s listing rules.
Leighton Holdings has accepted the infringement notices and agreed to pay $300,000 in fines.
Leighton signed an enforceable undertaking to ASIC on Friday to its disclosure practices independently reviewed – including agreeing to comply by fixed deadlines.
ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft says an independent consultant will assess Leighton’s current disclosure practices, compare them to best practice, make recommendations and monitor the disclosure practices of the company. “Compliance with continuous disclosure provisions goes to the heart of ASIC’s priority of promoting fair and efficient markets,” Medcraft said in a statement.
“All listed companies should have procedures in place to ensure they comply with their continuous disclosure requirements.”
The Australian Institute of Company Directors website states: “A listed company has an obligation to continuously disclose information which may have an effect on its market price or value. Continuous disclosure is based on the principle that all investors should have equal and timely access to information about a company.”
“[Disclosure practices] should be something that all directors should consider,” Medcraft says, adding that ASIC will review Leighton’s progress each year.
ASIC’s eight-month investigation into Leighton’s market disclosures ended last month when the last batch of company documents was delivered to the regulator.
“From ASIC’s perspective we have made a finding that there has been a contravention of the law,” says Chris Savundra, senior executive leader of ASIC’s market integrity deterrence unit.
Leighton Holdings’ chairman, Stephen Johns, said Leighton had agreed to implement a formal review of its continuous disclosure policies and procedures.
“We take our continuous disclosure obligations very seriously and have undertaken to ASIC to implement an independent review of our systems,” he said.
“We recognise that continuous disclosure is extremely important for the efficient operation of the market and will use the review as part of our program to improve the systems that support our business.”