The Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) share price fell slightly as the shipbuilder refuted any wrongdoing over a corruption allegation involving the Australian Border Force (ABF). Austal’s share price closed 0.93% lower at $3.19.
Austal cited a story in The Age regarding an investigation into the conduct of ABF employees. The issue concerned an outstanding milestone payment by ABF for the Cape Class program in 2015.
While Austal noted it did not usually respond to media articles or speculation, the company felt the need to in this case as the story had the potential “for adverse, misleading and incorrect inferences to be drawn against the company as a result”.
Austal said the “success fee” mentioned in the article was paid as a result of partial satisfaction of a contractual milestone payment obligation. Rather than, as the article suggested, “corruption inside the ABF”.
The article also suggested that the investigation uncovered evidence that the company “misled markets”. However, the shipbuilder denied the allegation, claining it was not aware of any such evidence.
Austal said in the announcement the investigation was over, but journalist reports said that the investigation was ongoing, albeit in a different form.
Austal has had no contact with the investigation board –the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.
About the Austal share price
Austal is Australia’s largest defence exporter and shipbuilder. The company owns shipyards in Australia, the US, Philippines and Vietnam with service centres worldwide, including the Middle East.
Furthermore, it has grown to become the world’s largest aluminium shipbuilder and is Australia’s largest defence exporter.