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Lion Nathan seeks High Court review

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 2nd August 2001

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Hold on for another ride on the Lion Nathan-Montana roller coaster - the brewer is taking the decisions made by the Montana Standing Committee to the High Court.

Australian-based Lion, which has found itself stymied at each turn to get a firm grip on the winemaker, has today lodged an application for a judicial review with the High Court in Auckland of three of the decisions made by the Montana Standing Committee.

Lion Nathan CEO, Gordon Cairns, says the High Court move has not been taken lightly.

"It reflects Lion's belief that the Montana Standing Committee's rulings were incorrect and that the penalty imposed was, in all the circumstances, inappropriate."

The decisions Lion wants reviewed include the one that started the ball rolling on June 5, which found that it had breached NZSE listing rules in February by transferring Montana shares before it was entitled to do so.

Lion is also arguing against the decision on June 29, which found it should sell 19% of its Montana holding as a penalty for the earlier decision.

At the time Lion called that decision "manifestly unjust".

Lion also wants a review of a Standing Committee decision from July 16, which supported a claim by Allied Domecq that Lion's selldown of the 19% stake was inextricably linked with a new takeover offer.

The move to the High Court is likely to test the mettle of Allied Domecq, which is the world's second biggest liquor group and has been battling Lion for control of Montana since the start of the year.

Both companies have repeatedly said they are committed to 100% control, leading to a number of legal claims and counter-claims as they jostle for the wine prize.

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