Woolworths and social activist group GetUp! have both claimed victory in a court case that will see shareholders vote on one dollar betting limits on more than 12,000 betting machines owned by the supermarket giant.
GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh said Woolworths had become the largest company in Australian corporate history to hold an extraordinary general meeting on a social justice issue.
"Woolworths are the largest owners and operators of dangerous, high loss poker machines in the country, " Mr Sheikh said in a statement.
Woolworths owns the machines through its 75 per cent-owned Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group of hotels.
In the Federal Court in Sydney on Friday Woolworths successfully applied to have the EGM delayed until the same day as its annual general meeting (AGM) on November 22.
More than 200 Woolworths shareholders, led by social activist group GetUp! requested the company hold an EGM separately so that shareholders vote to prevent the company from owning or operating poker machines with more than a $1 maximum bet.
The resolution, which was sent to Woolworths on June 25, also imposes revenue limits of $120 an hour per machine and prevents the use of gaming machines for more than 18 hours, from 2016.
Woolworths' lawyer James Lockhart SC argued in court that as the resolution would not take effect until 2016 delaying the EGM until November 22 would not have any effect on the outcome of the shareholder vote.
He said holding the two meetings as one would save shareholders $550,000.
The lawyer for GetUp! and the 210 Woolworths shareholders that requested the meeting, Garry Rich said they had the legal right to have a separate meeting within two months of their request and that costs alone was not a sufficient reason to delay it.
GetUp! has claimed the cost of holding the EGM was less one per cent of the profits Woolworths made from its portfolio of poker machines each year.
Presiding judge Justice David Yates agreed with Woolworths that there would be no injustice caused to the 210 shareholders or GetUp! if the extraordinary general meeting was held on the same day as the AGM and would save shareholders unnecessary costs.
"GetUp! claims Woolworths failed to make the case for an extension of time regardless of the lack of substantial injustice. I disagree," Justice Yates said.
Woolworths withdrew part of the application to have the resolution addressed as part of the annual general meeting which GetUp! has claimed as a victory.
Woolworths community and government relations manager Simon Berger said the supermarket giant was only concerned with saving shareholders $550,000 and did not mind having a separate meeting as long it was on the same day as the annual general meeting.
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