BHP base smells like team spirit
On Monday morning the Melbourne staff of BHP Billiton move into their spanking new head office on Collins Street, and what a brave new world it will be in the post-Marius Kloppers era.
CBD's operatives managed to sneak into the shiny new HQ this week to take a look around, before the hoards descend.
The mining boom, as one would expect, has done pretty well by the Big Australian.
The office walls are adorned with just a small selection of the company's multimillion-dollar art collection.
No International Roast or Lipton tea bags in the canteens for BHP Billiton staffers.
Instead, all five floors are dotted with spanking new espresso machines, along with baristas to assist the more senior staff.
The tea areas even dispense free Tim Tams.
The 18th floor is home to the great horseshoe-shaped BHP Billiton board table, and the whole floor is cleared and turned into an executive suite for the five-odd days a year that Melbourne hosts board meetings.
CBD even managed to get into the office of chairman Jac Nasser.
It wasn't hard to find - the chairman of the board is, in fact, the only person in the whole empire to get a private office.
CEO Andrew Mackenzie has decided the entire "GMC" - that's BHP-speak for "group management committee" - will now work in an open-plan office.
Wiping out the private enclaves of the BHP leadership team was one of the first changes Mackenzie implemented when he arrived at the Big Australian.
But it's not the only thing the Scot has changed.
Many items once banned from the office under the Kloppers regime - including pot plants, eating at one's desk, smelly food - are now back in vogue.
The new on-site cafeteria even serves a decent aromatic curry, made by catering giant Big Group, as well as hot soup. Both were famously banned from the offices under Kloppers.
Down and out?
Look out, Mazu Alliance, Quoin and Viculus. Your time could be up.
If chief stockbroker Elmer Funke Kupper has his way, he will evict these kings of the illiquid stocks.
ASX on Thursday released a policy paper seeking to delist entities if their securities have been suspended from trading for a continuous period of three years.
This, Funke Kupper argues, will address issues raised about suspended entities being "left in limbo" for too long.
More than 100 ASX-listed entities currently have their securities suspended from official quotation.
Of these, close to 70 per cent have had their securities suspended continuously for 12 months or more.
A small number have had their securities suspended for up to a decade. Reasons for suspensions range from failure to lodge financial reports to failing to pay a listing fee. Appointing an administrator also draws a suspension.
Mazu, the operator of "religious shrines and ancillary activities", has been suspended since 2003.
Times are tough as Mazu attempts to push ahead with the development of the premier site for worship of the goddess Mazu in China's Fujian province.
Industry heavyweight Quoin has been suspended since 2001. Its core business of affordable hotel accommodation in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands has recently expanded into ancillary services. These include bars, food and gaming in the Solomons.
The core business of Viculus (suspended since 2002) is a bit more hazy. It is "in the business of seeking a business to purchase", it says.
One potential candidate could be recruitment specialist Hamilton James & Bruce. Staff at the ASX-listed player will no doubt be sending their CVs to recruitment firms after HJB on Wednesday placed itself into administration.
HJB's fee income had experienced a downturn (see employment story on previous page), said chief executive Grahame Doyle. A recent round of cost cuts and restructuring was not enough to restore profits.
Got a tip?
Ben Butler is on assignment.
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