Icahn, Hellicar, EBI, Ken Moss and Energy World

February 2, 2010

Dear Mayne Reporters,

After an action packed day in Sydney comprising a breakfast roundtable discussion with billionaire activist Carl Icahn on the phone from the US and then a record four shareholder meetings, here is a very quick update before catching the plane home.

Firstly, Boral's remuneration report was voted down so the building supplies company joins just Telstra and AGL in that exclusive club.

CEO Rod Pearce was just taking out too much cash and it was a terrible look that he announced a 10% profit downgrade today, which sent the shares plunging 7%.

However, for mine the highlight of the AGM was getting chairman Ken Moss to admit he intended to stand for another three year term at next year's AGM.

This is the guy who helped blow up billions at NAB and was one of the three independent GPT directors who recommended the Babcock & Brown joint venture.

Needless to say, I gave him a huge spray and urged the Boral board to ensure he doesn't run again, especially given that he'll be up to 10 years of service next year. If dud directors aren't weeded out of companies after blowing billions, then what hope is there.

Moss ran the defence that GPT issues shouldn't impact on his Boral credentials and the same argument will be run next Monday at Transurban when David Ryan, chairman of the ABC Learning audit committee, is up for re-election.

Ironically, I bumped into Jeremy Davis, the Transurban director who will be chairing that resolution, at the Everest Babcock & Brown Alternative Investment Trust EGM today.

Speaking of which, there's some easy money to be made buying 750 EBI shares before close of trade today.

After shareholders approved the delisting, anyone holding less than $2500 worth of shares by the record date of next Friday, will be taken out at a 7.5% discount to NTA.

The last NTA on September 30 was $3.30 and given it has 20% in cash, the next NTA won't reflect the full 25% market meltdown in October, so picking up the stock at $2 this afternoon looks like money for jam. The cash will be paid out in early December but don't buy more than 750.

Finally, the Amalgamated Holdings AGM today presented another opportunity to get stuck into Meredith Hellicar, the former James Hardie chairman.

I suggested that she stand aside whilst these ASIC proceedings are on foot but chairman Alan Rydge declared he would back her into the future, seemingly regardless of what happens.

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

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