Tackling the Alumina lunch club in 2008

By Stephen Mayne
February 9, 2008

This is the from Mayne Report subscriber-only edition on January 9.

I've decided to run for the board of the gigantic but tiny aluminium, alumina and bauxite company Alumina Ltd.

Having attended four of the five Alumina AGMs since it was spun out of WMC in 2003, it is now time to take the campaign to a new level.

You can only keep on turning up for so long to bag the six directors for running this post office box company with 10 staff that doesn't do anything like an overpaid lunch club. It is time to give shareholders a real alternative, especially given the remuneration report copped a 42% protest vote last year.

The change of government is also relevent because Alumina is Australia's largest electricity consumer through its minority, non-operating stake in the AWAC joint venture with Alcoa but the board is full of climate change sceptics who have only just got around to producing their first sustainability report.

We've spent much of this week knocking our AGM archive into shape on the site, so I can now point you to the accounts of the Alumina exchanges in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The register is wide open and directors like Mark Rayner just should not be hanging around like a bad smell when you consider the mess that he created as chairman of NAB, Pasminco and Mayne Nickless.

Alumina needs three directors sharing about $150,000, not the current old boys crews who are sharing more than $500,000 for doing not much.

As usual, it will all come down to the proxy advisers so I'll be making representations to those kingmakers at CGI Glass Lewis and Risk Metrics.

Weeding out overpaid and poorly performing directors is the last major frontier for shareholder activism in Australia and Alumina is carrying more than its fair share. It's time to apply the blowtorch.