Share sale to set up camp

Share sale to set up camp

Kathmandu boss Peter Halkett has $2 million in the kitty to help him set up home in Melbourne after selling about a third of his stock in the adventurewear company.

The company's tents may keep the water out but they're not suitable for living in indefinitely and Halkett is now looking for a permanent base after a year of renting.

"The board's pretty comfortable with it," chairman John Harvey told CBD. "He's now Melbourne-based and he's obviously facing some expenses and so forth in relation to doing that," he said.

Halkett was granted the shares by Kathmandu's previous private equity owners, Quadrant and vampire squid Goldman Sachs, before the company's float in 2009.

"We felt there's sufficient time lapsed to allow him to realise some of the gain on that," he said.

Halkett will also use some of the proceeds to meet his commitment to subscribe to an additional 570,000 shares under the company's options plan. He's entitled to buy them at the float price of $1.70 each because Kathmandu has achieved total shareholder returns of 15 per cent a year.

That will bring him back up to about where he started from - although, with company stock closing at $3.21 on Tuesday, he'll make a profit on the way through.

It's a bit of welcome news for Halkett, who had to take extended leave earlier this year after routine surgery resulted in a severe infection.

"I don't know if you saw him on our recent roadshow but he was firing on all fours," Harvey said. "He's good."

Buttered up

There has been sharp interest in the sharemarket about the three-way battle for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, with shares in the Victorian business soaring by a tasty 80 per cent since the takeover bids started in September.

That's a lot of cheddar.

So at Bega Cheese's annual meeting on Tuesday, shareholders may have been expected to grill big cheese Barry Irvin about the NSW producer's offer for WBC. Yet no questions were asked about Bega's bid.

One shareholder instead queried the board on whether they would consider spreading into cream cheese biscuits.

Irvin said Bega would be in for a blue with other industry giants such as Arnott's if it tried to milk the bickie market - to which the shareholder replied that Arnott's was not as good since it was taken over by Americans.

Wickenby slip

A Sydney barrister has apologised for describing the federal government's tax haven taskforce, Project Wickenby, as a "Gestapo unit".

John Hyde Page made the remark to Fairfax Media following the arrest last week of businessmen Vanda Gould, John Leaver and Peter Borgas on tax and money laundering offences.

The trio spent time behind bars last week before raising bail totalling $12 million.

In a separate Federal Court case, Hyde Page represents companies associated with the men that are challenging a $30 million tax bill.

Last Thursday afternoon, Justice Nye Perram told Hyde Page he was "very concerned" about the remarks.

"Your honour, if you have concerns then I certainly accept that they are well-grounded," Hyde Page said. "I accept that it's very likely that the remarks were wrongful and I mean, if somebody such as yourself has those concerns then I certainly regret making them."

Asked if an apology should be made, Hyde Page said: "Your honour, I apologise if by what I said or did I have in any way compromised the conduct of the current proceedings or done anything to embarrass myself professionally or any of the other participants in this proceedings."

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