By Ian Neubauer

Aristocrat Leisure has announced a possible settlement for a class action brought against the company by shareholders will have no impact on its financial position or operational objectives.

“Aristocrat… has been engaged in confidential settlement discussions in relation to the Federal Court class action. At this stage, the parties have not reached an agreement in relation to the settlement,” Aristocrat CFO, Simon Kelly, said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

“However, based on current negotiations, it is Aristocrat’s expectation that the settlement will not impact on the company’s operations and strategic objectives or its financial strength or capital management police.”

The announcement followed widespread press speculation that the $396 million case — the largest ever launched in Australia — would mark the first time a company listed on the ASX has agreed to pay shareholders for breaching disclosure laws.

The case centres around an ill-fated push into the Brazilian and Peruvian gaming machine markets in 2001 and 2003 that was booked to draw in revenues of $18 million, according to The Australian Financial Review. The $18 million was listed immediately but never fully received, resulting in subsequent profit downgrades and stock devaluations.

Aristocrat shares have fallen 4.4 per cent over the past week, reaching $7.17 by midday today.

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The Shout Team

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