CBD

iSelect at shindig while shares flag

iSelect at shindig while shares flag

The share price of iSelect may be tanking, but there are still good times available for some associated with the dud float, which has seen its share price tumble almost a third since it listed in June 24.

Senior management of the heavily advertised comparison website and the insurance companies which supply it with products spent the weekend before last at the luxurious Emirates Wolgan Valley resort in the Blue Mountains, about 180 kilometres from Sydney.

The resort, billed as "Australia's most environmentally responsible tourist destination", boasts a spa, tennis courts, pools, sauna and steam room.

There are three restaurants, one of which has a walk-in wine cellar where guests can munch on gourmet treats including smoked duck breast, wagyu fillet steak (with "onion textures", whatever they are) and "artisan Australian and international cheeses".

Rates per night start in the high hundreds and trend towards the $2000 mark, but then again resort suites come with a plunge pool.

CBD hears that iSelect's guests at the weekend shindig numbered fewer than 100 and were flown in by helicopter so that they didn't have to drive to the mountains.

The conference is said to have been about two-thirds business and one-third pleasure, with iSelect using the occasion to give its suppliers feedback on their products.

There is talk those present included executives from NIA, trading as health.com.au, the insurance outfit to which iSelect has provided a secured facility of up to $75 million.

Cosily enough, NIA's CEO Andy Sheats is the brother-in-law of iSelect CEO Matt McCann. iSelect independent director Leslie Webb and his family also own 7.8 per cent of NIA.

But iSelect's head of corporate affairs, Matthew Cuming, declined to say whether anyone from NIA was there. He also declined to say whether McCann or founder Damien Waller were present. Indeed, he declined to comment at all.

Its shares fell for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, closing down 3.1 per cent (4ยข) at $1.25.

Willox revived

PM Tony Abbott has been in power for less than a week but already pesky public servants at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet risk putting a powerful business figure offside.

On Thursday CBD reported a vacancy had opened in the Aussie business delegation to the G20 conference in Cairns next year, the B20 group.

The item was based on the federal government's list of members on its Australian Government Boards website.

However, there is no vacancy, with Australian Industry Group boss Innes Willox remaining a member contrary to Wednesday's report.

Abbott's people were doing their best to heal the rift on Thursday, restoring Willox to his rightful place among the B20 chosen.

And, it turns out, the error has been on the website since February, meaning it was made under the regime of the PM before last, Julia Gillard.

Charity rugger

Property types, some of whom even know how to play rugby, will pack down for the honour of their respective employees, a spiffy looking trophy and a cold beer when they take the field at Sydney's Easts Rugby Club on Friday for the CBRE Corporate Rugby Sevens tournament to raise money for the Spinal Cord Injury Network.

It's the second year the tournament has been held in Australia following the success the property industry has had with the same event in Hong Kong for many years.

CBRE's team, featuring Josh Cullen, Michael Andrews and Leif Olsen, will take on teams including last year's winner Herron Todd White, Investa Woolworths, Lend Lease, Reputation Laxton, Dickerson Pearson and Shield Security Services.

Got a tip?

bbutler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Related Articles