On 28 May 2014, the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against:
- the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL);
- two egg producing companies, Ironside Management Services Pty Ltd (trading as Twelve Oaks Poultry) (Twelve Oaks Poultry) and Farm Pride Foods Limited (Farm Pride);
- Mr James Kellaway, the managing director of AECL;
- Mr Jeffrey Ironside, a director of AECL and Twelve Oaks Poultry; and
- Mr Zelko Lendich, a director of AECL and a former director of Farm Pride.
The ACCC alleges that from November 2010, AECL and the other respondents attempted to induce egg producers who were members of AECL to enter into an arrangement to cull hens or otherwise dispose of eggs, for the purpose of reducing the amount of eggs available for supply to consumers and businesses in Australia.
It is also alleged that in February 2012, AECL held an ‘Egg Oversupply Crisis Meeting’ attended by egg producers in Sydney, where it allegedly sought a coordinated approach by egg producers to avoid oversupply which would affect egg prices. Mr Kellaway and Mr Lendich both attended and spoke at this meeting, which was chaired by Mr Ironside.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions and pecuniary penalties against the company defendants. In relation to Mr Kellaway, Mr Ironside and Mr Lendich, the ACCC is seeking disqualification orders.