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AusNet reaches settlement in Yarram Bushfire class action

POWER company AusNet Services has settled a class action relating to the 2014 Yarram Bushfire, which will cost the company A$5.25 million (S$5.34 million).

The total settlement is for A$10.50 million (inclusive of legal cost and interest), with the remaining A$5.25 million to be paid by Gippsland Contracting.

"The settlement is without admission of liability by AusNet Services or any other party," said AusNet in a release to Singapore Exchange on Wednesday. "AusNet Services maintains that there was no negligence on the part of AusNet Services which caused, or contributed to, the Yarram bushfire. AusNet Services accepts that litigation involves some uncertainty and subject to Court approval, this settlement avoids the need for ongoing litigation."

Provision had previously been made in AusNet Services' accounts for litigation costs up to the A$10 million insurance deductible.

The settlement is subject to court approval; the date for hearing the application for court approval has not been fixed as yet.

The bushfire, which took place in Australia in February 2014, torched more than 22,000 hectares, according to a 2014 report by Australia's The Age newspaper. It allegedly started when vegetation made contact with a distribution line.