Madame rising from the potash
Having languished in suspension since 2011, seen off some directors and ended a stoush with corporate bulldog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Kazakhstan Potash Corporation, nee Fortis Mining, seems to be on the road back to recovery.
Now in full control, managing director Madame Cheung is armed with backers from China, with deep pockets, being the Sino-Agri Mining Investment Group, a subsidiary of the China National Agricultural Means of Production Group Corporation. To get KPC back on deck, Madame Cheung has sent out a notice of general meeting to garner shareholder approval to complete the acquisition of some big potash projects in Kazakhstan, principally known as the Satimola potash and borate project. In order to fund the Satimola purchase and gain a lifting of the suspension by the ASX, approval is sought for a $150 million convertible note agreement to Sino-Agri and also to issue 50 million shares, at no less than $1.
The meeting is set for October 25 in Melbourne.
Twiggy cash grab
Fortescue founder Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest is shoring up his investment in biotech minion Allied Healthcare Group with the underwriting of half of a one-for-five issue. Twiggy is acting through his privately held Metals Group, which has a voting stake of 16.9 per cent. The shares are being issued at 5¢, a good discount to the current 7.3¢, but also above the average price of about 4.8¢ that Twiggy appears to have paid when he made a stealth move on the register in July.
Last month, a share price run to 7.6¢ culminated in the ASX issuing a speeding ticket to the Perth integrated healthcare and services manufacturer, taking Twiggy's interest to about $14 million. At the time, it revealed its main product - cardiovascular patch CardioCel, which recently passed European safety rules.
This latest cash grab is to help fund the herpes simplex virus program and accelerate the next phase of vaccine developments. Sounds worse than any mining tax.
Buckets and bouquets for elusive Telstra boss David Thodey, who batted off two hours of questioning at the telco's retail shareholders meeting in Melbourne. There were the usual ingredients: sleepy septuagenarians, and complaints about the small font in its directories, call-centre outsourcing to the Philippines, and poor regional mobile coverage.
Questions on how much it cost shareholders to change the colour of Telstra's logo went unanswered, sadly. But the biggest laugh was from a chap in a wide-brimmed hat who instructed Thodey to inform the 100,000-plus people heading to the 'G this weekend that, no, their text messages won't get delivered. Not in time for a Fremantle victory anyway.
Shares sold for tax
Insurance Australia Group chief executive Michael Wilkins has offloaded $4.3 million worth of the company's shares to meet a tax bill created by incentives vesting. Wilkins sold the 750,000-odd shares on market last Thursday, according to stock exchange filings.
Wilkins is still in the money, with a 33 per cent surge in IAG's share price to $5.85 in the past year.
Even after the sale, Wilkins holds $4.9 million IAG shares directly and $3.5 million in shares indirectly.
Mud flew and a lot stuck at last Friday's CBRE Corporate Rugby Sevens tournament, to raise money for the Spinal Cord Injury Network. It was the second year the tournament has been held in Australia, on a day that started sunny and ended wet and muddy. Fittingly, the sponsors won over Investa, 24 to 18 with CBRE's team captain and retail giant Leif Olson scoring the winning try.
More than $800 was raised from the raffle, while donations and gate takings bumped the overall total above last year's $1500.
The operator of Rochester Castle Hotel, Fitzroy, is keen to make clear that its bar started and continues to do the Clive "Parma" Challenge ...