Woolworths accused of Masters “stitch up”

Woolworths has been ordered to produce documents sought by its US partner in the failed Masters hardware chain as the two parties argue in court about the wind-up of the business.

The barrister for US hardware giant Lowe’s said his client wanted to see documents in case they showed evidence of “a stitch up” at the board meeting where it was voted to end the Masters joint venture.

Stuart Lawrence QC, for Lowe’s subsidiary WDR Delaware Corp, told the Federal Court in Sydney on Thursday there were issues about the manner in which the Masters JV was terminated.

Lawrence said Lowes had concerns about the conduct of the final August board meeting, among them “resolutions being pushed through, including the termination of the JVA during an adjournment of the meeting”.

Lowe’s has applied to have an independent liquidator appointed to Hydrox Holdings, the joint venture company running the soon-to-close Masters hardware stores in Australia.

Lawrence said Lowe’s was seeking some documents because it believed they could contain evidence of “a strategy or plan” for “a stitch up” at the board meeting .


After lengthy legal debate about whether the sought-after evidence was admissible or unnecessarily expanded the scope of the case, Judge Lindsay Foster ordered Woolworths to produce the evidence no later than September 13.

The case is due to return to court on September 15.

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