Catena v Australian Securities and Investments Commission  FCAFC 32, was a decision that originated from a decision made by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) which determined that Catena had contravened insider trading provisions within the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act). Catena appealed. This article addresses the outcome of that appeal.
Catena argued that the Federal Court had not, amongst other things, established whether the inside information on the facts was not generally available and that there was insufficient evidence to find that the information was ‘insider information’. The ‘information’ involved a proposed merger of VSL at a price of $2.20 per share scheduled to occur before 23 August 2006. ASIC alleged that Catena had procured another to buy shares in VSL whilst in possession of insider knowledge, and had encouraged others to acquire shares in VSL. This was proved from conversations that Catena had had with various individuals between 19 July 2006 and 8 August 2006. The Court found that it was an obvious inference from the available material, including the fact that Board members and only a ‘limited number of other people knew about the proposed merger’, that the information was ‘not generally available’ until 10 August 2006 (the date the merger was announced).
As the information was not generally available until 10 August 2006, it was concluded that Catena had breached the insider trading provisions of the Act. As such, Catena’s appeal was dismissed with costs.