COFFEE giant Gloria Jean’s is facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit, with its parent company accused of breaking a joint venture agreement with a small coffee supplier.
Western Export Services is suing Jireh International for $56 million in unpaid commissions and damages, Fairfax reports.
Jireh, owned and run by the Hillsong Church elder Nabi Saleh and the high-profile church member Peter Irvine, has launched a cross-claim, saying the 1996 agreement was invalid.
The Gloria Jean’s chain has 489 outlets across Australia and another 432 around the world, with estimated global sales of $500 million a year.
Fairfax reports that the franchiees are obligated to buy their supplies from Jireh.
The lawyer for Western Export Services, Ross Koffel, told Fairfax that the case would shine a light on the secretive coffee chain.
A spokeswoman for Jireh, Tanya Lim, told news.com.au: “In regards to the matter currently before the Supreme Court, the Defendant, Jireh International, is vigorously defending the matter and denies the allegations contained in the claim.”
The case begins today in the NSW Supreme Court and is expected to last three weeks.