Dixon outfit flies into 'uncertainty'
By · 2 Oct 2013
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2 Oct 2013
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Dixon outfit flies into 'uncertainty'

It might be a case for Air Crash Investigations. There is "material uncertainty" that Facilitate Digital, the internet ad business part-owned by former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon and his son, can continue as a going concern, according to the company's auditors.

Dixon jnr is the CEO of Facilitate, replacing Ian Lowe, who quit in October last year, while dad Dixon is a non-executive director.

According to Facilitate's annual report, which flew into the ASX inbox on Monday night, Ben Dixon's pay packet for the 2013 financial year was $195,000.

Putting on his shareholder hat, Dixon did rather worse: the company declared a loss of $828,000.

CBD also noticed that some 56 per cent of its $4 million in operating revenue came from just two customers.

The company reckons it will be able to soar out of trouble because it is set to receive a cash R&D refund of $1.1 million from the ATO later and it has agreed to sell itself to another digital ad outfit, Adslot.

Adslot also made a loss, of some $6.4 million, in 2013. It boasts Computershare founder Chris Morris on the board while its CEO is one Ian Lowe ... yes, the same Ian Lowe who parachuted out of Facilitate last year.

However, Dixon jnr is to replace Lowe at the combined business, which will be 28 per cent owned by Facilitate's shareholders.

Sadly, these blue skies ahead were not enough to stop auditor Louise Worsley grousing.

She said "uncertainties include the company achieving revenue forecasts, the completion of the Adslot transaction and the availability of alternative sources of funding".

"These conditions along with other matters ... indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern," she said.

Inflated offer

They're "excited" at online stockbroker and CFD purveyor CMC Markets, where Wednesday marks the launch of what customers were told was "an enhanced online broking platform". It's all very whiz-bang, with customers offered a "frequent trader program".

"The more you trade, the more benefits you receive and the lower your brokerage rate," customers were told in an email.

But it's only at the very end of the long marketing spiel that customers discover that the price has gone up.

For infrequent traders, the first 10 trades will now cost $11 each, up from $9.90.

"There is a slight increase in the headline rate, but it's only a buck," CMC head of broking Andy Rogers told CBD. "Our price point is still significantly cheaper than the competition."

Indeed - CommSec and E*Trade both charge $19.95.

Rogers was far keener to talk about the benefits for heavy traders, who will see their brokerage slashed from 0.10 per cent to as little as 0.075 per cent.

Paladin's scary tips

With uranium mining not the glamour industry it once was, yellowcake merchants Paladin Energy appear to be trying their hand at book publishing.

Paladin's annual report, released on Tuesday afternoon, reveals a library full of books the miner has published as part of its community education program in Malawi.

Titles include Alex's Scary Experience, which CBD thought must mean Alex bought Paladin stock at the $5 level it hit before March 2011's Fukushima disaster (Paladin closed on Tuesday at 48¢). Apparently it's actually about malaria.

Other titles include Alfred's Money, about "wise use of wages" (not buying Paladin stock before a major nuclear disaster?) and Ben - about bribery and corruption.

Coincidentally, during 2013 five Paladin employees were sacked "due to fraud and corruption issues".

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