It's a game of rock, PaperlinX, scissors

MISSION accomplished! PaperlinX chief executive Toby Marchant announced his resignation yesterday and signalled that the disaster-prone paper merchant had "reached a major turning point" as its shares slumped to a new low of 4?.

MISSION accomplished! PaperlinX chief executive Toby Marchant announced his resignation yesterday and signalled that the disaster-prone paper merchant had "reached a major turning point" as its shares slumped to a new low of 4?.

Marchant, who was appointed chief executive in November 2010 when PaperlinX shares were trading above 40? each, explained in a statement: "We have reached a major turning point in the transformation of PaperlinX, and the board and I have agreed that it is an opportune moment for me to step down as chief executive."

PaperlinX also announced it had offloaded its operations in Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and South Africa for less than $30 million. A far cry from nine years ago when PaperlinX spent $1.3 billion on its biggest offshore push, buying the paper merchanting division of Buhrmann. Since then, PaperlinX shares have dipped about 99 per cent.

At the time, then managing director Ian Wightwick boasted: "This business has great potential and we are confident that the acquisition will deliver strong earnings per share growth for our shareholders." PaperlinX is now valued at $25 million on the sharemarket.

A CanDo attitude

FINALLY. A group of citizens has voiced concerns about the future of Fairfax Media in the lobby of the media company's Sydney headquarters yesterday.

The dozen protesters from the "grassroots" group CanDo offered some ideas on how Fairfax could lift its share price.

Led by CanDo executive director Jai Martinkovits, some members of the group were carrying placards titled "Gina Can Do It".

It is believed this was in reference to Fairfax shareholder and mining tycoon Gina Rinehart who has been pushing to get three seats on the board.

"They've handed editorial control over to a journalist collective, who have turned these once great journals of record into mouthpieces for the vegan, bicycle-riding, inner-city elites who are completely out of touch with mainstream Australia," lamented the CanDo website.

The "centre-right" group was originally established by the Liberal senator Cory Bernardi to counter the rise of the pinko latte-sipping group GetUp!

Radio announcer Alan Jones is the patron in chief of the group, while the monarchist David Flint is its chairman.

"Without a great Australian patriot like Gina Rinehart, the future of Fairfax Media looks pretty bleak," notes the CanDo website.

Dry argument

THE liquid-related traditions of stockbroking have come under further assault, with the Australian Securities Exchange's promotion of its new Australian Liquidity Centre at Sydney's Gore Hill.

In the good old days, any ASX-related liquidity centre would have had at least four beers on tap. But in a major shock to the local market, the ASX has revealed the ALC has no relation to the serving of alcohol nor promotion of long liquid lunches. "ASX offers customer connectivity between external domestic sites and the ALC via its low latency fibre network," says the brochure for the centre. It appears the ALC is merely a data centre rather than a pub.

Word Wizard

YELLOW Brick Road founder Mark Bouris appeared to be suffering from a mild case of writer's block yesterday.

"I need some help for my weekend column," the Celebrity Apprentice host tweeted yesterday in reference to his weekly column in the The Sunday Age.

"Tell me, what do you think is the BEST thing about the Australian economy right now?" Bouris could always cut and paste the minutes from the Reserve Bank's board meeting early this month.

Ethical move

FORMER Perpetual boss David Deverall has either taken the high moral ground or is just keen for a job, going by an announcement by the ethical fund manager Hunter Hall International yesterday.

Deverall was named as the group's new chief executive, with his $450,000 salary less than half what he used to get at Perpetual. He was "honoured". "Ethical investing has emerged as the preferred approach to investment for many individuals and superannuation funds and Hunter Hall has shown tremendous leadership in this category."

Got a tip? srochfort@fairfax.com.au

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