National Australia Bank to Be Sued Over U.S. Subprime Exposure, Firm Says

National Australia Bank Ltd. will be sued by shareholders who lost money because of the bank’s exposure to U.S. subprime debt, Maurice Blackburn, an Australian class-action law firm, said in an e-mailed statement.

Maurice Blackburn, with 20 offices along the east coast of Australia, will file the lawsuit tomorrow, the firm said. Amanda Tattam, a Maurice Blackburn spokeswoman, confirmed the statement.

The firm has scheduled a news conference at its Sydney office tomorrow.

National Australia Bank’s profit for the six months ended September 2008 fell 24 percent from a year earlier as it increased provisions for potential securities losses. Bad debts climbed to A$2.5 billion ($2.4 billion) in fiscal 2008, from A$800 million a year earlier, as the company set aside A$1 billion for U.S. subprime-related collateralized debt obligations.

Bank officials didn’t immediately respond today to requests for comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joe Schneider at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

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