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Murray Goulburn settles ACCC court case

murray-goulburnDairy giant Murray Goulburn has reached a settlement in a case brought by the ACCC that alleged the dairy co-operative misled farmers over milk prices.

The ACCC is applying to the Federal Court seeking declarations that Murray Goulburn and its former managing director Gary Helou had contravened the Australian Consumer Law between February 29, 2016 and April 27, 2016 over its FY16 farmgate milk price.

“Murray Goulburn is pleased to have reached an agreement with the ACCC on this matter,” Murray Goulburn chairman John Spark said in a statement.

The settlement is subject to Federal Court approval. ACCC will seek a “pecuniary penalty against Helou and the costs orders against MG and Helou.” As part of the settlement, both parties will agree to the contraventions and the costs orders against them. The statement said that Helou will agree to the proposed penalty, but no details have been announced yet.

AAP reported many suppliers quit the industry or switched to other dairy processors after Murray Goulburn in 2016 unexpectedly slashed the price it paid farmers for their milk. The dairy giant’s value collapsed and Canadian dairy giant Saputo completed a $1.3 billion purchase of the co-operative in May. Murray Goulburn’s share price dropped 3.1 per cent to 31 cents today following the announcement.

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