James Hardie Industries, the Australian building products company, has halted trading in its ASX-listed shares pending an announcement over legal action by New Zealand’s Ministry of Education.
The company requested the halt until it makes an announcement later today, it said in a statement to the ASX. The shares last traded at A$9.77 on the Australian stock market.
“The company requests a trading halt pending an announcement containing details of legal action initiated by the New Zealand Ministry of Education against two New Zealand James Hardie subsidiaries and other parties,” the company said.
Earlier this year, the company increased its charge for a New Zealand product liability by US$7.5 million to US$13.2 million in the 2013 financial year.
James Hardie NZ Holdings, the local holding company, flagged potential claims by customers from recognised sales as a contingent liability in its 2012 annual report filed to the Companies Office.
“The extent of James Hardie NZ Holding’s liability is currently uncertain, however, management have recognized provisions for their best estimate of future liabilities of these claims,” the report said.
“It is expected that the matters to which the current provision relates could potential settle or go to trial before 1 April 2013,” it said.
As at March 31, 2012, the New Zealand holding company took a $20.9 million provision in its current liabilities, and a further $10.3 million provision in its non-current liabilities.