SYDNEY (Reuters) - Woolworths Ltd <WOW.AX> said on Monday the U.S. company with which it had a hardware retail joint venture had started legal proceedings, five days after Australia's No.1 grocery chain said it was exiting the business.


Woolworths's joint venture partner, Lowe's Companies Inc <LOW.N>, has filed a court application in relation to their hardware chain, the company said in a statement.


The Australian company did not give details of the court application but said it "is yet to be served with documents relating to this application".


In a statement, Lowe's said "Woolworths has engaged in oppressive conduct, including by invalidly and in bad faith attempting to terminate" the joint venture.


Woolworths said last week its three-way plan to shut down and sell parts of its home wares business will proceed as planned.


(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)