Footing the bill, despite Slipper

Footing the bill, despite Slipper

Chief executives would be feeling pretty good about themselves after doing their bit for charity at Monday night's CEO CookOff in Sydney. The $1 million pledged will do great things for the homeless - provided it all gets collected - but CBD is more interested in where it is coming from.

The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, whose flying kangaroo sponsors the event, raised a whopping $58,000. A-list donors including his chairman, Leigh Clifford, the CEO of David Jones, Paul Zahra, and the CEO of Telstra, David Thodey, each stumped up $200. Perhaps it was all that was in their wallets that day. The big money came from the Commonwealth Bank ($2500), Airbus ($5000) and Consolidated Travel (a whopping $10,000).

Publican Justin Hemmes also did well, raking in more than $33,000. His donors included Consolidated Press Holdings ($5000), brewer Coopers ($500) and the member for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg.

Interestingly, Frydenberg also got $1000 from Michael Harmer of Harmers Workplace Lawyers. Good to see the firm has money to spare despite the expense of running an appeal against Federal Court judge Justice Steven Rares's stinging finding that Harmer had abused court processes in the harassment case his client James Ashby brought against former speaker Peter Slipper.

Glitch for MyATM

ONCE upon a time, it was a high-flying sponsor of the Port Adelaide Football Club that boasted a boardroom packed with Liberal Party heavyweights.

These days, MyATM is a far more modest beast but one thing hasn't changed - its propensity for getting into trouble with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

ASIC last week issued an interim stop order barring the ATM company from issuing 250 million shares at the princely price of 1¢ each (thus raising $2.5 million).

It's not the first time ASIC has blown the whistle on a MyATM prospectus. In mid-2010, when the company's board included long-serving MP and senator Grant Chapman and former parliamentary secretary for corporate law Ross Cameron, ASIC stopped a prospectus to raise $10 million, delaying the float.

MyATM did eventually list, getting onto the bourse in early January 2011 but it lasted less than 12 months before being suspended after going into administration in December that year.

These days, the pollies are long gone and MyATM has a completely different board and management, headed by its chairman, Adam Sierakowski.

Sierakowski's Trident Capital is leading a recapitalisation of MyATM and stands to end up with up to 15 per cent of the company if the prospectus gets back on.

CBD asked Sierakowski to explain ASIC's concerns and was told the interim stop order "was only received on Friday afternoon and is with the company's lawyers".

"We are confident the company will address these concerns in the coming days," he said.

Beachfront tides

VETERAN wheeler and dealer Boris Ganke faces losing his stake in a Fijian beachfront property if shareholders storm the fortress at one of the companies he chairs, Southern Cross Exploration (which glories in the raunchy ASX code SXX).

For seven years, Ganke has been locked in battle with Adelaide investor Tim Lebbon over the future of SXX - since 2005, Lebbon has sued the company twice and called three shareholder meetings attempting to appoint new blood to the board and tip out directors associated with Ganke.

Lebbon, who owns 14.5 per cent of the company, has been unsuccessful in his efforts so far but will hope it is third time lucky when shareholders meet this month.

Backing up his latest bid are a pair who together claim to control an additional 29.5 per cent of the company: Bruce Burrell, who is a director of two other Ganke-chaired companies, and stockbroker Alex Keach.

In their sights are Ganke's son Eugene Ganke and Evelyn Goh, who is Ganke's business partner in the Fijian property venture, who they hope to replace with Burrell and Keach. However, they plan to retain Ganke snr.

Goh and the elder Ganke are directors of and shareholders in Nadi Bay Beach Corporation, which owns a 17-hectare property that boasts 500 metres of beachfront. Southern Cross owns 20 per cent of the Fijian company and has extended it a $7 million loan.

"Interest is not paid in cash each year, thus putting SXX under constant cash flow pressure," Burrell and Keach said in a letter to shareholders sent late last month. "We believe that SXX should develop a definite plan for the realisation of this asset by enforcing its rights under the mortgage ... this will not happen under the current management."

In their letter to shareholders, Ganke and Goh described the move as "an attempted takeover on the cheap" (which the rebels deny) and claim "the company's prospects may be damaged if the current board is removed".

All will be revealed when shareholders meet in Sydney on February 26. In the meantime, SXX's latest quarterly report to the ASX shows it had just $6000 in the bank as of December 31, having burned through $133,000 in the previous three months.

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