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Mag queen on the outer at Seven?

Mag queen on the outer at Seven?

Has another window closed for legendary mag veteran Dulcie Boling?

The Seven Group director was on a sticky wicket at the industrial conglomerate's AGM on November 19 when investors pointed out she was seeking re-election to the board having neglected to acquire any shares in her previous three-year stint.

Seven chairman Kerry Stokes provided cover saying her attempts to buy shares had been stymied by a narrow window of opportunity to buy shares given the range of investments, and market-sensitive information, Seven was exposed to.

In a matter of days Seven chief Don Voelte managed to find a window and splurged $150,000 on the company's shares, according to an announcement last week.

Alas, Boling has yet to follow suit.

Compo riddle

Rare earths producer Lynas Corp narrowly avoided a first strike against its remuneration report on Friday after the company managed to clear up a misconception that its chairman Nick Curtis had been paid a $953,000 "termination payment" when he stepped down from his CEO role in March.

We don't know where investors got that silly idea from.

Oh, that's right, it was from the Lynas annual report.

Well, yes. The report did refer to a $953,000 "termination payment" he received for stepping down as CEO but the directors explained at the meeting that it wasn't really. Somewhat obvious, given he was there chairing the meeting.

It was actually compo "in accordance with his service agreement" to cover the fact that his pay had taken a significant cut as he transitioned from an executive to non-executive role.

"We are very comfortable that what we've done is in the interests of the shareholders," said Lynas board member Kathleen Conlon.

"If you actually look at the total pay, it was actually significantly less than the previous year."

Maybe it was the distraction of the protests outside agitating against the company's new processing plant in Malaysia, but shareholders at the meeting were won over by the argument.

Proxies voted before the meeting were slightly above the 25 per cent needed to give the company its first strike, but on a poll the company managed to peg the no vote back to 24.6 per cent.

Bermuda factor

EBet was not as lucky. The gambling group received a first strike against its remuneration report last week and may have the Bermuda Triangle to blame.

A bemused CEO, Tony Toohey, told CBD he was not sure why this happened and not just because the share price had more than tripled to $3 in the past year, reflecting the group's growing earnings and revenue. "It will be difficult for us to address the reasons for their concerns because none have been given," he tells CBD.

Confusion over the result was not helped by the fact that one insto shareholder withdrew their proxy vote against the remuneration report when they realised what was about to happen, and voted in favour of the report in the poll taken from the floor. This led to the bemusing situation of the no vote declining between proxy and poll. But the 40 per cent vote against the report levelled off at 25.8 per cent.

Which brings us to Bermuda.

While management were keeping mum, it does look like reclusive businessman Duncan Saville had neglected to vote his 15.3 per cent stake held via his Bermuda-based Utilico.

Saville held as much as 26.5 per cent of eBet's shares until October when he lightened the load a little.

Utilico also contains the remains of the profit-challenged ticketing provider ERG; this is a result of Saville ploughing more than $100 million into ERG over the years, and walking away with the viable part of the ticketing operations when it was on the verge of collapse.

A four-year legal battle over the abandonment of Sydney's public transport smartcard ended just last year with the NSW government dropping its $90 million claim against ERG, which in turn dropped its $215 million counterclaim against the government.

Got a tip? ckruger@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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