InvestSMART

Timing's all wrong at Takoradi

The executive chairman of Takoradi Limited Rod Hudspeth should expect little applause next week when shares in the mining explorer are tipped to come out of a two-year hibernation (aka suspension).

The executive chairman of Takoradi Limited Rod Hudspeth should expect little applause next week when shares in the mining explorer are tipped to come out of a two-year hibernation (aka suspension).

Despite shares in Takoradi being expected to surge from their last closing price of 7?, tempers are running high among the explorer's shareholders over the recent slump in the value of the company's key asset - a 13 per cent stake in the explorer Metminco.

It is nine months since Takoradi finalised a deal to sell its stake in a South American mining company in return for 160 million Metminco shares, $3.35 million in cash and more shares to cancel out a $9.7 million debt. Not bad for a company that had a market capitalisation of $5 million when it last traded in early 2009.

But, with Hudspeth only getting around to lodging his company's most recent half-year and 2010 full-year accounts on June 10, some shareholders are fuming that Takoradi may have missed an opportunity to capitalise on its Metminco stake.

Since the start of May, Metminco shares have tumbled more than 40 per cent, taking the value of Takoradi's stake from around $75 million to around $43 million.

Takoradi, which had $1.5 million left in cash at the end of the March quarter, might also need to sell off some of its Metminco shares.

Takoradi also has to pay a $17.7 million tax bill in relation to its Metminco share acquisition.

Hudspeth said he was too busy to talk to CBD when contacted yesterday. "I can't talk to you at the moment. I'm in a meeting," he explained.

Asked if the company would recommence trading next week, the former 1980s high-flyer said: "I can't answer that ... But if you give me a call in a couple of days I'd be absolutely delighted to help you. Can't help you at the moment."

It is believed the company has already been cleared to recommence trading by the Australian Securities Exchange.

MOVING ON

The Telstra executive who managed to outlive the ownership of the Postmaster General's Department, privatisation and Sol Trujillo's government-bashing reign to David Thodey's government-embracing reign, has called it quits.

Telstra announced yesterday its chief financial officer, John Stanhope, who joined the telephone company as a 16-year-old in 1967, would retire at the end of the year.

Stanhope declined to provide any clues on his plans post-Telstra. "I look forward to continuing to play a significant role in the coming months as we seek shareholder approval for Telstra's participation in the national broadband network," was all he would say in a drab statement yesterday.

There are signs the 60-year-old is keen to improve his skills on the drums. Stanhope, who spent his first pay cheque from the telco on a set of drums, lined up his first non-telco board seat last year when he was appointed a director of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

GILLY'S ON BOARD

The former Australian Test wicketkeeper who wowed corporate governance experts when he walked after being given not out at the 2003 Cricket World Cup has taken his first directorship on an ASX-listed company.

TFS Corporation, the sandalwood plantation and managed investment scheme company, yesterday announced Adam Gilchrist had joined its board along with the gym-loving former Liberal minister Richard Alston. Alston will be appointed chairman at the next annual meeting.

In a statement, TFS commended Gilchrist on his deep understanding of the sandalwood industry.

"Adam Gilchrist has been working with TFS as its global ambassador for the past 12 months, and his understanding of TFS products and their potential in new markets has already proved to be a valuable asset," the company said.

Gilchrist already chairs the Australia Day Council. His decision to walk at the 2003 World Cup was attributed as a key factor for helping Gilchrist score a seat on the currency exchange company Travelex that year.

Gilchrist obviously is not joining the TFS board just for the money. The fees handed out to each of the non-executive directors on TFS's board last financial year were around 5 per cent of the $US900,000 ($850,000) Gilchrist was paid to captain the Kings XI Punjab in the most recent Indian Premier League season.

But, given he will turn 40 in November, Gilchrist is probably already looking around for some pocket money to help him through retirement.

A VALAD POINT

Yesterday's CBD column under-quoted the fees paid to Trevor Gerber, the chairman of the debt-laden property concern Valad (aka Invalid).

On top of his 46 per cent lift in base fees to $530,000 in the year to June 30, 2010, Gerber was paid an additional $150,000 for "work performed in addition to their usual directors' duties". This means the $680,000 in fees he earned in the 12 months was actually more than double what he was paid by Invalid in the 2009 financial year.

CBD also failed to factor in the $150,000 of extra fees paid to Invalid's deputy chairman Robert Seidler's on top of his $301,667 of board fees. This means his total fees of $451,667 were nearly triple what he was paid in the 2009 financial year.

This column also incorrectly labelled Barry Wynne as a former managing director of Invalid. He is the former chairman. Wynne, in his last full financial year as chairman (2004-05), earned $130,764 in fees.

METALS MONEY

Fortescue Metals non-executive director Russell Scrimshaw has cashed in a few chips following his recent resignation as the iron ore miner's second-highest ranking executive.

In a notice to the ASX yesterday, Scrimshaw disclosed that he sold 500,000 shares for $3 million. The former computer salesman still has 7.5 million shares (worth around $46 million) and a swag of options and performance rights in the firm.

Scrimshaw will soon be joined in the "non-executive" ranks by the Fortescue chief executive and founder, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, who on July 17 will replace Herb Elliott as chairman. Forrest has 964,848,823 shares in the miner worth $5.98 billion.

Got a tip? Use our online tips box or email srochfort@smh.com.au


Join the Conversation...

There are comments posted so far.

If you'd like to join this conversation, please login or sign up here

Related Articles