Rinehart ready for new scene

Rinehart ready for new scene

No more recycling from YouTube star Gina Rinehart, organisers of an upcoming mining conference promise.

Attendees at the Australian Mining Productivity and Competitiveness Summit in Perth last month were served up a reheat, in the shape of Her Roy Hill Highness' notorious "Africans ... are willing to work for less than $2 per day" video from 2012.

But a spokesman for the Australian Mines and Metals Association told CBD the keynote address Rinehart will be delivering at its national conference in Melbourne later this month will be "new and unique to us".

"We actually had to send a film crew over there to her office in Perth," he said.

AMMA is expecting delivery of the fresh footage this week.

Australia's richest person is a dab hand when it comes to giving a pre-recorded speech, dropping the $2 a day video to the Sydney Mining Club in September last year - although last month she did make it out to the Institute of Public Affairs' 70th anniversary bash.

Definitely appearing live and in the flesh at the AMMA shindig will be Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, who will be debating Liberal workplace spokesman Eric Abetz. The event will pit Shorten's pugnacious stoushing style, last seen in full flight during an allegedly obscenity-laden outburst at a pie shop owner in August last year, against Abetz's equally aggressive ninja needling.

"It is a proper head-to-head debate between the minister and his shadow," AMMA's spokesman said. Arnold Bloch Leibler employment partner Henry Skene will be keeping an eye out for low blows as moderator.

Dixon support

Tourism Australia chairman and former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon began life as Australia's newest media mogul on Tuesday after he and his family emerged with 46 per cent of the digital marketing business run by his son Ben.

The financial engines have been spluttering at Ben's ad shop, Facilitate Digital, prompting it to go to the market for a capital raising underwritten by Geoff, who is also on the board.

Sadly, punters seem not to have noticed the offer - perhaps it somehow ended up in the spam folder - and Geoff had to shake the change loose from his pockets, stumping up $1.5 million to make up the shortfall. He now has 31.5 per cent of the company.

Chief executive Ben took up his entitlement, splashing out $275,000 to take his holding to 14.6 per cent. With both Dixons on the board and owning nearly half the company, could Facilitate go private? It did talk about delisting in November, but canned the plan in March.

Shattering win

Former glass magnate Don Mathieson has scored a shattering win against Melbourne's Silman family, who have been an obstacle to his takeover bid for mining explorer World Oil Resources.

The Takeovers Panel on Tuesday provided detailed reasons for a recent ruling that a chunk of shares held by companies associated with Maurice Silman and sons Ariel and Ezra should be seized by the corporate watchdog and sold off. Using a diagram reminiscent of Kim Beazley's infamous "Noodle Nation" chart, the panel traced the complicated relationship between members of the Silman family and the companies in which they have an interest.

The panel found that the Silman companies, including listed group Bisan, controlled a total of 29.1 per cent of World Oil, but had failed to disclose their association with each other. It also noted "substantial" recent payments to Ariel Silman and Bisan director David Herszberg. World Oil has a consultancy agreement with a company half-owned by Ariel Silman, who made a business trip to Brazil for World Oil in February and March as part of the deal.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is to sell off the 9.1 per cent that falls over the 20 per cent threshold at which takeover bids are required to be lodged.

Mathieson, who is related to pokies kingpin Bruce Mathieson and made his pile selling his glass business to CSR, is offering 1.3¢ a share cash through his private company Holdrey, which will fund the offer "through its ample existing cash reserves".

While shares have been trading slightly higher than the offer, at 1.4¢, Mathieson reckons it's a good offer given recent "significant upheaval" at the company.

In a bidders' statement lodged late last month, he outlined a series of woes including the write-off of its Brazilian assets, negative operating cash flows and the resignation of the company's chairman and managing director.

The company burned $527,000 in cash in the first three months of the year and has $24,000 in the bank.

Egg on faces

It was a festival of wrong in economist-town on Tuesday, with the Reserve Bank's decision to slash official interest rates to an all-time low catching most dismal scientists sans trousers. Just eight of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg picked the move, with the rest plumping for no change.

Roosters on the day included Macquarie Bank chief economist Richard Gibbs, former Julia Gillard adviser Stephen Koukoulas of Market Economics and BT Financial's Chris Caton.

Feather dusters include former RBA pointy head Paul Bloxham, these days at HSBC, veteran Bill Evans of Westpac and Bob Cunneen from AMP Capital Investors.

A handful of economists expect RBA guvnor Glenn Stevens and friends to slash rates even further in coming months.

Bear in mind that the current rate, 2.75 per cent, beats a previous record from January 1960, when rates dipped to 2.89 per cent. Gibbs reckons rates will reach as low as 2.25 per cent, while Koukoulas and Deutsche Bank's Phil O'Donoghue think it will hit 2.5 per cent. On the other side, Bloxham says rates will rise, hitting as much as 4 per cent next year.

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