Elliott revved up to run business of Melbourne
THERE could be nothing better than the return to public life of John Elliott, who has thrown his hat into the ring to become deputy mayor of the City of Melbourne on a ticket headed by pollster Gary Morgan.
Yesterday, Elliott told the ABC that "it is a business to run Melbourne, there's no doubt about that" "your shareholders are the residents and the people who operate the businesses in the city."
While some may raise an eyebrow at the prospect of the outspoken former corporate high-flyer taking a key role at a city council with revenue of more than $360 million a year, CBD thinks Elliott's achievements speak for themselves. Here are just a few:
1989: The National Crime Authority (since disbanded) launches a long-running investigation into Elliott's takeover of Elders, which he had turned into a debt-fuelled empire in a bid to bring Foster's Lager to the world.
1990: Elders IXL delivers a then-record loss of $1.3 billion. Elliott steps down as president of Liberal Party.
1993: Charged with theft and conspiracy to defraud Elders.
1996: Acquitted after a judge threw out most of the NCA's evidence.
2000: A company of which Elliott was a director, Water Wheel Holdings, collapses.
2001: Ordered by the Federal Court to pay $5 million of costs the NCA ran up during his legal stoush with the authority over its investigation.
2002: Sacked as Carlton Football Club president after evidence emerges the club had been rorting the AFL salary cap.
2003: Banned from corporate life for four years over the collapse of Water Wheel Holdings. The Carlton Football Club scrubs the John Elliott Stand signage from its Princes Park home, renaming the stand the Heroes Stand.
2005: Declared bankrupt owing millions.
2007: Bankruptcy annulled.
Clearly a man who deserves to be deputy mayor of the only council in Australia to hold a AAA credit rating from agency Standard & Poor's.
Bonus in boxes
IF BONUSES for chief executives are out of fashion, clearly someone forgot to inform Amcor chief executive Ken MacKenzie.
His bonus for the year to June 30 crept up over $2 million, according to Amcor's latest annual report, out yesterday. It was just one of several lumps bulking up MacKenzie's pay packet, pushing his total compensation from $6.43 million to $7.52 million.
That's a 15.7 per cent pay rise, but shareholders have done well under his regime. Profit rose from $379.9 million to $436.8 million or 14 per cent, eerily similar to the packaging boss's pay increase.
"Ken's ranked one of the best executives in Australia at the present point in time," Amcor spokesman John Murray said.
"And Amcor is one of the best-performing stocks."
CBD scoured the box maker's report for mention of Attorney-General Nicola Roxon's tobacco plain-packaging laws, but came up with nothing. While it doesn't shout it from the rooftops, Amcor is a big player in the cancer stick packaging business. That would seem to leave Amcor exposed when drab olive boxes become the standard in December.
But Amcor shareholders can breathe easy. The company doesn't make any packs locally and reaps just $4 million of its $1.2 billion in tobacco packaging sales from Australia.
"It's not an issue," Murray said.
He pooh-poohed the possibility of plain packaging being prescribed worldwide.
A knock-on effect is "pretty unlikely", he said. "You go to the US and they can't even get a textual warning."
THE rebels at Golden Gate Petroleum have triumphed . . . sort of. Angry shareholders had hoped to kill off a $10 million capital raising that involved issuing convertible notes to clients of Novus Capital.
The rebels, who set up a forward post on bulletin board Hotcopper, complained that the deal would give too much power to Novus clients.
Battle lines were drawn at a shareholder meeting in Sydney on Wednesday, with the rebel camp hoping enemy numbers would be whittled away because subscribers to the convertible notes were barred from voting on the proposal.
When proxies were unveiled, it became clear the note issue would be narrowly defeated, 184 million to 172 million. A compromise proposal from the company, cutting in half the number of notes to be issued, was tied on a show of hands.
But, when the smoke cleared from the battlefield after formal votes were counted, it passed by 236 million to 182 million.
HAS too much hot air been pumped into the social media bubble?
Yesterday's announcement from Optus owner SingTel that it had paid $US26.5 million for an app that scrapes together all the pictures your cyber-friends have put up in various places Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr and collects them into a single feed would appear to be a positive indicator.
SingTel told the ASX the app, Pixable, enables users to keep up to date with crucial world-historical events such as "what I ate last night, which concert I went to, who was with me at a party".
It does this "using next generation predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to analyse users' interactions and consumption habits to prioritise photos from close friends and family", SingTel said.
Hot air indeed.