Wednesday, 16 April 2014

http://www.smh.com.au/business/nick-curtis-lynas-corp-stake-keeps-shrinking-20140327-35lnk.html

Nick Curtis' Lynas Corp stake keeps shrinking

Nick Curtis is losing interest in rare-metals miner Lynas Corp, although it is not of his own volition. Curtis reported to the ASX on Thursday that he handed 10 million shares to Credit Suisse to settle a $4.319 million loan facility set up in April last year.

''The facility is not a margin loan and therefore there are no margin calls,'' Curtis reported at the time.

So presumably it is not to blame for his sale of 2.85 million Lynas shares just before Christmas. Since December, his stake in the company has shrunk from 16 million shares to about 3 million as of this week.

CBD suspects other funds may have changed hands to settle the facility given the shares were worth a tad under $2 million when Credit Suisse took hold of them.

It is not the only potential call on the family purse strings.

There is also the matter of the legal bills being run up by his son, ''celebrity investment banker'' Oliver Curtis - hubby to publicity queen Roxy Jacenko - who is fighting insider trading charges in the Supreme Court.

Just as well Nick's Queen Street, Woollahra home is still on the market.

He also has 18.5 million options over Lynas shares, compliments of the years he spent as its CEO.

The stock's plunge since its half-year results announcement a few weeks back finally bottomed after Lynas reported that production at its controversial Malaysian processing facility remains on track.

''I wish to assure shareholders that while LAMP has been slower to ramp up than we would have liked, recent production is beginning to demonstrate sustainable momentum,'' said Curtis, who also had to contend with a speeding ticket issued by the ASX on Wednesday when the stock bottomed at 17.5¢.
Charitable plan

Having rolled the board of Australian Infrastructure Fund last year, Wilson Asset Management chairman Geoff Wilson is seeking a higher purpose for the corporate shell he now controls.

The AIF board says it has received a proposal from his charitable entity, the Wilson Foundation to ''transform the company into a listed investment company with a charitable purpose''.

The Wilson Foundation plan is to invest $1 million in the company to buy out minority shareholders and then raise new capital under its new mission - if the proposal is approved by current investors including Wilson Asset Management, which has a 18.6 per cent stake.

The company is expected to generate a normal market return for its shareholders; the charitable donations will come from fees forgone by the fund managers it invests with, according to Wilson.
Murdoch moves

CBD could not help but notice that the return of heir apparent Lachlan Murdoch to the family firm was not worth a single tweet from bachelor dad Rupert Murdoch, as of Thursday afternoon.

Luckily his papers picked up the slack. News Corp rag The Daily Telegraph chose to splash with a pic of Rupert and the elevation of his sons, Lachlan and James, at the ''family-controlled business'' above an ad with the tag line ''family proof''. Here's hoping guys.

Meanwhile, questions remain unanswered about the split at Ten between Lachlan and James Packer. Does the fact that Murdoch broke his deal to ''act in concert'' with Packer on their combined 17.6 per cent stake in Ten signal a divergence of interests as he rejoins Ten's alleged predator News Corp?

That news popped up just 10 minutes before Murdoch announced he was stepping down as Ten chairman.

And what would Ten's new executive chairman, Hamish McLennan, do if a bid does lob from his previous employer News Corp?

After all, he was appointed on behalf of News as chairman of realestate.com.au. Speaking of which, given he is still looking for a CEO and CFO at realestate.com.au, we are glad that he doesn't have too much work on his plate at Ten.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/nick-curtis-lynas-corp-stake-keeps-shrinking-20140327-35lnk.html#ixzz2z2E8ia8A

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