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Feds plan appeal on Takeovers Panel

THE federal government has announced plans for a High Court appeal to confirm the powers of the Takeovers Panel, following a surprise Federal Court ruling in a case involving Alinta Ltd that cast doubt on the future of the panel. Treasurer Peter Costello said the Federal Court ruling on a dispute that emanated from Alinta Ltd’s purchase of units in Australian Pipeline Trust had created uncertainty in the takeovers market and undermined the role of the panel. His comments followed a statement earlier this week by the panel, which claimed that it would still be able to deal with most takeover disputes using residual powers that were not affected by the Federal Court decision. The Federal Court ruled that the panel could not use its powers under section 657A(2)(b) of the Corporations Act. In its statement, the panel said it was “confident that the vast majority of disputes concerning takeovers are able to be framed in terms of section 657A(2)(a). The panel considers that very few, if any, persons will be left without a forum for resolution of their disputes following the Federal Court’s decision in relation to section 657A(2)(b)”.

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