Wilmar Sugar to face dual legal actions
MORE than 300 sugarcane growers are suing Wilmar Sugar for $10.3 million in damages following a bad crop in 2010.
It is expected this legal battle that has been running since 2012, will continue until at least the end of the year.
Queensland Sugar Limited manages the export of sugar and made a loss following a poor harvest in the 2010 season and passed on the $60.9 million shortfall to Wilmar Sugar.
But Wilmar, which acquired Sucrogen Ltd in 2010, said growers in the Burdekin region were liable for this loss and the company reduced the farmers' payments by $42.50 a tonne for the season.
But the 316 growers claim this breached their contract with Wilmar and are fighting for the $10.3 million they say is still owed to them.
In a complex case before the Supreme Court, Wilmar is tied up in two separate legal battles.
In one, growers are suing the miller and in the other, Wilmar is suing Queensland Sugar Limited, claiming all sales revenues and associated costs and risks should have been shared among all millers. Wilmar is fighting to recover the $60.9 million in damages that it inherited from QSL.
Wilmar asked the court for these two matters to be heard together, but Supreme Court Justice John Bond refused this on Wednesday.
Justice Bond said there may be some overlapping evidence in both cases but that the overlap was "peripheral" and not likely to be controversial.
"The focus of each proceeding would be entirely different," he said.
A trial between the growers and Wilmar will be held in November.
- APN NEWSDESK