Gutnick finally faced a question, or 20, in 1998

By Stephen Mayne
January 17, 2008

The following story appeared in The Daily Telegraph after the Centaur Mining & Exploration AGM in Melbourne on October 21, 1998.

Annual meeting five in the stable of Joseph Gutnick's nine companies in Melbourne yesterday and the mining magnate finally got a shareholder question. From me.

In fact the chairman graciously allowed about 20 questions over 25 minutes and said a range of interesting things, the highlights were as follow:

* Having Robert de Crespigny from Normandy Mining as a banker was better than being beholden to some bank and the much-discussed relationship held strong.

* Yes, the $US325 million bond issue in the US was trading at a yield of 14 per cent (arguably junk bond levels) but thank goodness Centaur got it away last December before the great capital squeeze. Without it there would be no Cawse laterite nickel project near Kalgoorlie.

* Yes, it was a shame the ASX kicked Centaur out of the All Ords when it fell below $1 but there was no thought of merging it with stablemate Great Central to get it back in and institutions interested again.

* Joe had a slap at institutions on the way through for not better supporting Australian miners, with the exception of AMP and National Mutual which remain on the Centaur register.

* No, Joe didn't take a pay cut but he did say each of his nine companies pay him the combined salary of almost $1 million on a fee for time basis.

* However, Joe did acknowledge the share price took a savage cut and promised solid cost cutting across the group, including the exploration spend which totalled $27 million last year.