Question to Rudd, 7pm Project, GPT and Alumina AGMs, Cornwall, Stokes, Boart protest, Gary Morgan, director rankings, great new lists, Harvey Norman and much more

May 11, 2010

Dear Readers,

There's far more to life than tonight's boring "no frills" budget. Read on.

Breaking News # 1: Boart goes down, chairman quits

Graham Bradley, the President of the Business Council of Australia, quit his position as chairman of Boart Longyear today after shareholders delivered an embarrassing defeat of the remuneration report.

Check out the results from this morning's AGM, the separate statement explaining the defeat and then the resignation announcement.

Whilst the resignation is not explicitly linked to the heavy remuneration defeat (1.037bn in favour and 1.42bn against), the sub-text is clear.

However, once again, the shareholders have constrained their protest to the remuneration report. After all, why would you inflict one of the heaviest defeats on our list tracking big protest votes and at the same time re-elect the embattled chairman for another three year term. And why would the embattled chairman quit on the same day as being re-elected if it wasn't connected to the rejected remuneration report?

In what is an intriguing side issue, Bradley is also chairman of Stockland which is believed to have voted its 9% stake against the GPT remuneration report at yesterday's AGM in Sydney. See more on the GPT AGM further into the edition.

Breaking News # 2: ASX censors Gary Morgan's shareholder address

We've always known that pollster, Lord Mayoral candidate and Haoma Mining chairman and controlling shareholder Gary Morgan is a feisty character but it still came as quite a surprise that the ASX regarded his address at this morning's EGM as too political.

Sure, ASX chairman David Gonski might be the new chairman of Therese Rein's Ingeus business, but that doesn't mean corporate critics of the Government's proposed super profits tax shouldn't be allowed to inform shareholders what was said at a public meeting through the ASX's monopoly announcements platform.

Okay, making that link is clearly a bridge too far but the ASX bureaucrats have apparently claimed that such statements are not allowed to be overtly political. Hmmm, wonder how many times that clause has been invoked?

Anyway, the one sure way of maximising exposure comes from trying to censor it so click here to read the uncensored version of Morgan's speech this morning as shareholders approved the buyback and cancellation of BHP-Billiton's 5% stake in the company.

Hitting the PM with a pokies question at the Melbourne Press Club

Last Thursday, your correspondent hit the PM with this question about the pokies at the Melbourne Press Club.

With such apparent apathy towards taking action on the Productivity Commission recommendations, this story was published in Crikey yesterday laying out quite explicitly that squibbing on the pokies will galvanise the anti-pokies movement to campaign to deliver Lindsay Tanner's seat of Melbourne to the Greens at the forthcoming Federal election.

Why Tanner? He's the Cabinet minister with the tightest margin in the strongest seat for the Greens nationally. The Greens have the toughest anti-pokies policy of anyone and, as Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, has the power to deliver the pokies solution which is a federally-funded buyout of state government pokies revenue addiction.

This will be very bluntly applied. Labor can't seem to accept the enormous social damage being caused to tens of thousands of Australia by the world's most lethal poker machines in a society that loses more gambling per capital than any other in the world.

We're not against gambling, but pokies are the addiction for 85% of all problem gamblers.

Any Labor Party person with a social conscience only has to watch the video of the speech given by veteran problem gambling counsellor Bernie Durkin at a conference held at Manningham's council offices last Wednesday to gauge the true sickness of this government-sponsored problem.

Monash University's Dr Charles Livingstone also gave a a cracking 40 minute address at the conference which we'll have ready on the same pokies video playlist later in the week, but do check out these slides he presented to the audience of about 100.

Also, check out the latest from Paul Bendat's Pokieact website and this package of our past pokies coverage.

And finally, check out this 30 second anti-pokies ad made by Paul Bendat last financial year featuring our daughter Alice, who was 6 at the time:

Another session on The 7pm Project

The 7pm Project has been a revelation for Network Ten over the past couple of years with its unique fusion of hard news and comedy.

It rates almost 1 million viewers most nights, just outside the top ten programs.

Over the last two Wednesdays we've had the rather action packed agenda of the regular 25 minute spot with Lindy Burns on 774 ABC Melbourne (see full audio archive), followed by a sprint down to Ten's studios in South Yarra for a live appearance on "The Project".

The first appearance was on the question of whistleblowers and the second dealt with The Age sacking Catherine Deveny for her Logies night tweets.

Click on the screen shot below to watch them both.

Well known Australian whistleblowers

Our multi-media researcher Shane Marden has been busily working away on various lists of late and when The 7pm Project requested a chat on whistleblowers, we decided to create this new list which tracks well known Australian whistleblowers over the years. One of the most topical entries is this one:

Allan Kessing: In 2007, Allan Kessing, a former Sydney customs officer, was convicted of leaking documents containing information about serious security breaches at Sydney Airport. He received a nine month suspended prison sentence. However, Kessing has always maintained his innocence, and after losing his appeal in the Full Federal Court last year he lodged an appeal to the High Court, but this was later dropped. He has, however, applied for a pardon from the Federal Government. Circumstances surrounding the investigation and conviction of Kessing have received widespread public criticism. Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, one of Kesssing's most vocal supporters, told The Australian recently that it would be a "gross injustice" if the Government did not grant Kessing an immediate pardon.

Cranking up debate on auditors and directors at GPT AGM

GPT held its 2010 AGM in Sydney yesterday and below are the edited highlights of our contributions, along with some descriptions of the context.

A big spray for outgoing chair Ken Moss whilst supporting remuneration report
Very much enjoyed hopping into hopeless Ken Moss who should have gone years ago, yet helped himself to $360,000 in cash over his last final 12 months on the board as the interim chairman as incoming chairman Rob Ferguson served his apprenticeship.

Two questions in general business calling for some deal making whilst getting nowhere seeking final loss figures on Babcock dalliance
Enjoyed this final dip at a director still standing who was associated with the Babcock fiasco. Such a shame that Ken Moss couldn't even articulate the final 10-figure loss from the Babcock joint venture. He even had to check with the CEO that 2010 dividend guidance was 3c. A chair should know all this stuff like the back of his hand.

Supporting Rob Ferguson as the new chairman whilst querying workload
The legendary former BT CEO claims he can handle being chairman of three public companies because the litigation funder IMF won't take up too much time and his only other major gig is chairing Primary Healthcare.

Questions for auditor David Armstrong about valuations and relationship with internal audit function
The former Macquarie Group auditor from PwC also copped a question last year. And after speaking for an hour to 900 people at the big Asian internal auditors conference at Darling Harbour earlier in the day, it made sense to also ask my first ever question about internal audit at an AGM. It seems that GPT used to out-source the internal audit function to Deloitte, but has now beefed it up and brought it back inside. Good to see this important governance function receiving some more attention.

Supporting the re-election of Anne McDonald, chair of the audit committee
Given that the Babcock joint venture was signed in 2005 and Anne joined the board in 2006, she was strongly supported as there are not enough women or former auditors on public company boards and she is both.

Supporting Dr Eileen Doyle and her comparatively light workload

After Crazy Jack Tilburn ripped into the candidate's workload I got up and strongly supported Eileen whilst pointing out that the vast majority of top female public company directors feel under-worked and would like more gigs.

Supporting former Australand CEO Brendan Crotty's re-election whilst querying potential conflicts of interest
Brendan is a good appointment but I'm surprised the NSW Government puts up with his obvious conflicts.

Supporting 5-for-1 consolidation given ridiculous 9.2 billion shares on issue

The shares will go from trading at around 50c to $2.50 and didn't GPT go close to cracking the magical 10 billion share level as it kept issuing new stock like confetti during the GFC.

Slugging it out with Alumina

The Alumina AGM last Friday morning was another tense affair with long-serving chairman Don Morley declaring my questions were "offensive" as he made disparaging remarks about my "behaviour". Check out how the Fairfax broadsheets covered it.

However, there wasn't much support in the room for old Don as my two strongest criticisms both attracted healthy applause from the estimated 100 shareholders present and another 4 shareholders subsequently got up to back my position and bag Don's "arrogance".

After many years (see package of highlights) of criticising this Post Box company which has barely ten staff and doesn't do much more than accept dividend payments from its 40% stake in the AWAC joint venture run by Alcoa out of Pittsburgh, chairman Don was digging into his bunker like never before last Friday.

Firstly, the past practice of webcasting live was abandoned. We then had security targeting me on the way in and refusing entry until the recorder was deposited in the cloak room. Shareholders also weren't allowed to take bags in, which is a rarity at public company AGMs.

Then, when it came to questions, Don insisted that shareholders ask them all at once. My first question sought a commitment that a full audio recording of the meeting would be placed on Alumina's website after the meeting. There were nods from the company secretary so I didn't pursue the confiscated recorder issue at that point. Indeed, click here for all the audio highlights.

The main bone of contention was Alumina's decision to scale back retail shareholders who applied for additional shares in last year's 1-for-1 entitlement offer at $1 a share.

The company was chasing $285 million from retail investors and received applications totalling $299 million. However, rather than just scaling back the "overs" by $14 million, they produced a tough formula of only three times an investors entitlement with no minimum allocation which resulted in another $45 million being returned.

You can see all the precedent and equity arguments laid out in this letter sent to the Bluescope Steel board as it contemplated a retail scale back last year.

I still suspect that Alumina broke with what the majority of major issuers were doing at the time last year out of spite just to avoid delivering me a windfall gain. After all, I did run for the board of Alumina in 2008 and won convincingly from the floor but lost even more comprehensively in the poll as the results show. However, in shafting me, they also ended up scaling back more than 20% of applicants who requested additional shares or about 2000 investors in total, when this was completely unnecessary.

The foregone profit from the arbitrarily returned $45 million amounts to about $25 million, which is straight dilution from retail investors as a class to the institutional club.

Perhaps Alumina chairman Don Morley needs some lessons from Julia Gillard on the question of equity and maths.

Would Kerry Stokes still praise Rudd today?

When Kerry Stokes heaped enormous praise on Kevin Rudd at last year's Seven Network AGM I smelt a rat. Just a few weeks later we learnt about the massive tax cut for the free-to-air networks. All of which makes this exchange with Stokes at the AGM all the more interesting.

Stephen Mayne: your effusive praise of the stimulus package; I haven't heard anything quite as effusive from a top business leader. Obviously, anyone who has studied media mogulism over the years is always looking for, sort of reading the tea leaves, as to who is praising which politicians, and what is the bigger game plan here? Obviously the PM spent a night with you up in Cable Beach, in the last two or three months, and your position is in stark contrast to Rupert's comments over the weekend saying the stimulus was a “waste of money, Kevin Rudd is the most thin skinned prime minister he has come across – he is the fastest to complain.”

I guess my question is, is that correct? Is Mr Rudd the fastest to complain on editorial issues, and also, have you spoken to Mr Murdoch since he has been in Australia for the last week about relations with Foxtel? Because you seem to coming at this whole situation of the Rudd government's performance from completely contrasting positions, and I am just trying to get a sense of whether this is positioning, what is the bigger picture here chairman?

Kerry Stokes: I'm quite surprised. I looked at News newspapers in February, March and April. Anyone who looked at them and saw a number of pages and didn't think they were hurting extremely badly, like every other company, and it is only since the stimulus kicked in that we've all had an improvement in advertising. So to that extent I believe that the government policy has worked.

In regard to Rudd, it was publicised, he did spend a night with us, I can actually say to you, we never talked about television. I have never spoken to Rudd about television. What we did speak about was Broome. We spoke about he indigenous people. We did speak about one of the more important things that happened that week, was a meeting at one-armed point. When all the clans of the Kimberlys came together for once, to discuss a common economic good. To discuss how they were going to train their kids for the future and get out of this welfare cycle.

He came to Broome and met the locals of Broome. I asked him to come; he came. He met them. Anyone who has been in Broome, there are some great characters in Broome. Some real dinky-di Australians. He got to meet them all.

He also got to meet an initiative up there called ‘Kimberly Girl', which was a way of trying to pick up indigenous girls and give them an opportunity to find some reliance and self-respect. Some reliance on the fact they don't have to accept the things that they find – they can change things.

He and his wife came – they came for one night. They had been to Geraldton - he hadn't been well. I thought it was pretty remarkable he came. He spent a lot of time with the town's people and the result of that was, there was a change in that program. When he left there, he left a visible change behind. Now these are things I expect the prime minister to do – and these are things that don't get written about.

In regard to media, I have never lobbied with the prime minister. If there is any lobbying to ever happen, or discussion, David (Leckie) does that through the appropriate channels. I'm 20 years of being in this business. One thing I have learnt is, is that it is a waste of time to lobby people on positions. At the end of the day, cabinet and government's decide positions, usually based on what the circumstances are that day. They don't listen to people like me very often – that's for sure.

Sorry I was bit long in answering that Stephen.

Stephen Mayne: it was good answer!

Top directors: Corrigan, Johns, McCann and Livingstone

You've previously seen our rankings of the top female directors but this has now been expanded into a top 75, with a further 25 who are noted but not ranked. In April 2010, this article was visited by 529 viewers, which is a lot for one of our lists.

Then there is also this new list of the top 100 male directors, plus a further 25 names in the next division who are not ranked. In April 2010, this article was visited by 512 viewers. Whilst the women are directly ranked from 1 to 75 based on their records and, more importantly, the current responsibilities they carry, the blokes are for now just a top 100 in alphabetical order.

We'd love your feedback and suggestions on both of these lists and we're really hoping that this exercise can eventually help deepen the gene pool, remove poor performers and provide greater diversity in board rooms across Australia.

One new tactic we're employing for director assessment is asking incumbent members of the club who is the best director they've ever worked with.

Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone has been mentioned twice now and this past fortnight we heard the name of Kevin McCann come up. From my experience both are very strong directors. As the senior independent director of Macquarie Group, McCann deserves much credit for its post-GFC strength, but his stewardship of Origin's negotiations with BG over recent years was even better.

I'll be coming up with a 10-person dream board at the end of this process and have little doubt that both Livingstone and McCann will be in it.

Other names mentioned when directors are asked for the best person they've served with have included former Qantas chair Gary Pemberton, Chris Corrigan, former Westfield finance director Stephen Johns and even former ANZ chairman Charles Goode.

The Cornwall collection

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing his satirical commentary to The Mayne Report since March 2009. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and there are now also some amusing animations.

Cornwall on tax and interest rates

Mayne Report April Traffic Figures

In April 2010 we had 52,706 unique visitors and 108,488 page views which is about average for the past few months but almost double what we had in April 2009. The most popular articles were The Mayne Report Rich List with over 3000 visits, followed by the article Capital raising plays since Jan 2009 which had 871 visits. Strangely, the next most popular feature for April 2010 was a radio interview on the 6PR breakfast show about Rio Tinto's slash and burn announcement from December 11, 2008. This interview was listened to by 607 people, so clearly someone is running a prominent link somewhere.

Are things getting worse at the frozen MFS fund?

An MFS investor writes:

Dear Stephen,

I am contacting you in relation to the Wellington Capital Premium Income Fund (PIF) of which I am an investor and the plight of its approx 10,400 unitholders. We believe we have been ignored by regulatory bodies (ASIC) and financialy crippled due to lack of intervention on our behalf despite having notified ASIC and many other people in positions of power for over two years.

As a result of the current Public Examinations being conducted by Bentley's liquidators information is being revealed as to the gross neglect and alleged fraud under prior management which resulted in severe losses to unitholders. Unfortunately we appear to be doing financially worse under the new Responsible Entity, Wellington Capital (WC). Our Fund has decreased further in value by approx $150 million under WC's control with no return to investors.

After conducting extensive research I have uncovered some alarming information in relation to further possible substantial legal claims against our fund.

The NSX have failed to act on complaints regarding disclosure of this matter.

Hmmm, this is a tricky one because MFS clearly left behind a complete mess and Wellington has a very tough clean up job. Whilst disclosure is important, you shouldn't just automatically announce new legal claims, especially if not yet lodged.

Meanwhile, check out this list tracking frozen funds in Australasia, which is still surprisingly large given the GFC has supposedly subsided.

Another withdrawn resolution from Harvey Norman

Retailer Harvey Norman has little debt, solid earnings and a wonderful landbank of property, but executive chairman Gerry Harvey doesn't seem to have a clue when it comes to corporate governance and executive pay.

Australian shareholders have historically had an appalling culture of rarely proposing resolutions of their own to be voted on and accepting whatever company resolutions boards dish up for approval at the annual general meeting. When a resolution does run into trouble, rarely does it actually get defeated because the company usually withdraws it when the proxies are running badly. There are only a handful examples of this happening and, in chronological order, they are as follows:

Southern Cross Broadcasting: announced the withdrawal of a resolution to increase retirement benefits for directors at 5.51pm on a Friday, October 26, 2001 as you can see here.

John Fairfax: withdrew a proposed change to its constitution regarding proportional takeovers in 2001 but the losing proxy count was still released here. It was a special resolution requiring 75% approval and Fairfax only had 64.5% of the proxies in favour.

AMP: withdrew its ludicrously generous and complex incentive schemes proposals for new CEO Andrew Mohl and then Henderson Group CEO Roger Yates before the 2003 AGM after angry shareholders vowed to vote them down given the billions that had just been lost in the UK. Check out the backdown announcement here.

News Corp: I still think the rejection of Rupert's proposed options issue without performance hurdles for six executive directors at the 2003 AGM was the trigger for the move to America. The Sun King said it was Australian institutions who objected and it must have been some sort of "crazy misunderstanding."

Harvey Norman: called an EGM in 2003 to reprice 14.5 million out-of-the-money options held by the executive team but then cancelled the proposal after a big protest from institutional shareholders. Check out the announcements in the middle of 2003 here.

Hills Motorway: John Cassidy resigned from the board one day before facing a re-election ballot at the 2004 AGM because it was clear the proxies were running against him. This is one of the few times in recent history than an endorsed incumbent director has been booted off a board.

Fleetwood Corporation: a proposal to issue options to executive directors was withdrawn at the 2004 AGM due to opposition from shareholders, although the company blamed "the inadvertent omission of some technical information required by the ASX."

board-endorsed director Peter Kerr quit the day before the 2005 AGM knowing he was going to be swept out by the proxies for suing his own shareholders for $100 million.

Rio Tinto: a proposed constitutional change to limit class actions in the US was rolled by shareholders at the AGM on May 4, 2006, causing an embarrassing withdrawal as you can seen from this announcement.

Tabcorp: board was forced to dramatically withdraw a motion to grant up to 2.5 million performance options to managing director Matthew Slatter at the November 2006 AGM, conceding that the motion had already been outvoted six to four by proxy votes.

SP Ausnet: cancelled its proposed $8.3 billion of the Alinta assets from its parent Singapore Power the day before the scheduled meeting on December 11, 2007. Whilst deteriorating debt markets was the publicly stated reason, the proxies were rumoured to also be in trouble. Indeed, higher debt costs made the deal uneconomic so both scenarios were probably true.

Harvey Norman: called an EGM for April 30, 2010, to issue 17.5 million options at market prices to a range of executives with very modest performance hurdles, effectively replacing an earlier out-of-the-money scheme. Was cancelled with this terse one paragraph statement from executive chairman Gerry Harvey on April 23. We had to cancel flights.

Gerry Harvey is the only two-time offender on this list, so he clearly still doesn't understand shareholder engagement. That said, the stock is pretty beaten up at the moment so we ploughed $10,000 into them last week at $3.27 a share.

Cornwall on budget and ciggies

Ranking Parliamentary webcasting

Our multi-media producer Shane Marden has reviewed the performance of the various state parliaments when it comes to webcasting and come up with the following conclusions:

Tasmania: the best of all the sites with a clear link and category on the front page. An amazing archive of every session from 2009 available to watch. By far and away leading all other parliaments in terms of good governance, consideration of constituents and usability.

as expected they offer broadcasts of sessions from both houses and a very limited archive that only extends back 1 month.

they offer live broadcasts, audio and video of parliamentary sessions but no archive of web casts is available.

NSW: they offer live broadcasts, but it is not mentioned whether they are audio or video, of parliamentary sessions but no archive of web casts is available, despite a considerable archive offered for other information.

Western Australia: they offer live broadcasts, audio and video of parliamentary sessions but no archive of web casts is available.

Northern Territory: although web casting is spoken about in the 2004-05 annual report, there is no mention on the website about any future web casts of up coming sessions of parliament, and there is no archive of any past broadcasts.

South Australia:
they offer detailed minutes from session and meetings, information of how to view a parliament sitting, but a webcast service of the meetings is not offered.

Victoria: despite promises, and after a comprehensive search, there seems to be no section on the Victorian paliamentary website pertaining to webcasts. There is no archive offered and there is no information suggesting any up coming webcasts when parliament is in session, unlike the NSW and Qld websites.

This seems to be at odds with this statement from Victorian Premier John Brumby on August 20 in 2008:

Victorians will be able to listen in to the State Parliament online for the first time from today. Premier John Brumby said audio web casts for all sessions of both the Legislative Council and Assembly have begun and is one of a suite of measures being delivered by the Victorian Government to open up Government and the Parliament to more Victorians. “When I became Premier, I said I wanted to do more to open up the processes of Government and the Parliament to more Victorians,” Mr Brumby said. “I have taken action on a number of initiatives to increase public involvement in our strong democracy and webcasting the Victorian Parliament is the latest of these actions.”

Advertisement: Let Kumar help you dress to impress

Shock horror, we've actually got someone who might yet become a paying advertiser in The Mayne Report. Kumar Advani is the tailor who has kept me looking sharp for almost 10 years at everything from council meetings to Wednesday night's appearance on Channel Ten's national prime time program The 7pm Project.

Several times a year, Kumar & Vinesh Advani visit the capital cities of Australia and New Zealand to provide personal fittings for Ladies and Gentlemen. I love his gear so why not make an appointment to view the exclusive range during the next showing in your city.

Kumar will be at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne from tomorrow, taking appointments all day Wednesday until 3pm Thursday, May 13.

He has collected a new range of winter fabrics from Europe - for suiting, shirting and top coats and now would be the ideal time to place your order in preparation for the cold season ahead.

Please contact Kumar on 0419 275 533 to arrange a time to meet up.

Donate to help keep this free service (plus pay for a few flights to AGMs)

The Mayne Report costs almost $100,000 a year to run (assuming I don't get paid a salary) and we moved to a free model in June last year after struggling along seeking subscriptions for the first 21 months as we racked up almost $200,000 in losses.

However, it has been nice to receive more than $5000 worth of donations over the past six months and we're hoping this new model can help cover some of the start-up losses and ongoing operating expenses.

Our favourite anonymous Toorak benefactor sent another cheque for $500 yesterday after watching the exchanges at the Alumina AGM on Friday. Many thanks indeed.

If you fancy giving us a hand to help fund our activism and keep The Mayne Report going, just click on the image below:

The Mayne Report Rich List

BRW magazine does a great job with its various Australian Rich Lists but we've broadened their efforts to track any Australian who has ever been worth more than $10 million. We've got more than 1400 names with those who've fallen back below $10 million now italicised. Below are our latest new or updated entries:

David Mingay:
owner of the Daracon Group, the largest privately owned Civil/Mining/Transport/Property company in NSW which has a turnover of around $300m. He owns huge land banks in Newcastle and other areas, and he owns and operates 8 quarries.

Australians who have sued for defamation

Here is a list of notable Australians who have sued for defamation over the years, along with this recent new entry:

Nicole Cornes: as of April 2010, the former ALP candidate is pressing ahead with her defamation suit against TV funnyman Mick Molloy. In July 2008 on Network Ten's Before The Game, Molloy allegedly insinuated she had slept with former AFL player Stuart Dew.

More Cornwall

Budget will increase cost of government bonds

This list tracks all bond and treasury note issues by the Rudd Government since it was elected in November 2007. The latest federal bond issues are as follows and you'll note that interest rates are still north of the 4% assumed in last year's budget papers, so expect a much bigger predicted interest bill tonight. Sky-rocketing public debt is a worry and here is the detail from Canberra's latest efforts:

Friday, May 7, 2010:
$500m tender of 2 year bonds expiring in November 2012 were sold for an average yield of 4.90% and was over-subscribed 3.2 times.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010: $500m tender of 12 year bonds expiring in July 2022 were sold for an average yield of 5.75% and was over-subscribed 3.1 times.

ASIC jail list highlights

The Mayne Report's ASIC jail list highlights what a slack job the corporate plod has done over the years, but the record on insider trading has been improving lately as one of these entries show:

27 April 2010 - Oliver Banovec, of Bellevue Hill, Sydney, NSW, was sentenced to seven years jail, with a non-parole period of four years nine months. He is a former director of 3 companies now in liquidation. He was found guilty of 5 fraud charges and one perjury charge following a four week trial.

16 April 2010 - John O'Reilly, former director of Lion Selection, was sentenced to ten months imprisonment but was released on a 18 month good behavior bond and fined $30,000.

Finally, a couple of wins on the capital raising front

Since our last edition we've had two modest wins on the capital raisings front as follows:

May 10
Kings Minerals: $10,000 into 1-for-5 entitlement offer at 6c with overs. Scaled back by 65% but sold 41,375 shares at 8.7c to make profit of $1117.

May 6
MMC Contrarian:
$10,000 into 1-for-1 entitlement offer at 50c with overs. Got the lot. Exited at 55c for gain of $1000.

April 29
Catalpa Resources:
$10,000 into entitlement offer at $1.25 with overs. Scaled back to virtually nothing.

Offers we're currently committed to

K&S Holdings: $15,000 into SPP at $2.56. Closed May 11 and trades May 18.

Mirvac: $2000 into two $15,000 SPPs at $1.40 a share after placement. Closed May 6 and allotted May 14.

Sundance Energy: $15,000 into SPP at 13.5c after placement. Closed May 6 and trades May 18.

Supercheap Auto: $1000 so far into $15,000 SPP at $4.80 after $54m Ray's Outdoor acquisition. Closes May 21 and trades May 27.

Assessing the capital raising pipeline

Here is the list of known offers in the pipeline which remain open and we're considering:

AFIC: $15,000 SPP at $4.90 or 2.5% discount to VWAP. Closes May 26.

GME Resources: 1-for-10 at 7c with no overs. Closes May 14 and trades May 21.

Mineral Deposits: $15,000 SPP at 95c which closes May 14 and trades May 21.

Perseus: $15,000 SPP at $1.94 after placement. Closes May 25 and trades May 28.

Supercheap Auto: $15,000 SPP at $4.80 after $54m Ray's Outdoor acquisition. Closes May 21 and trades May 27.

From the press room: Crikey and ABC radio

774 ABC Melbourne - discussing the budget, Melbourne Storm and the resource tax.


Rudd's choice: move on pokies or risk losing Tanner
Monday, May 10

Brumby hailed as Mr Responsible as debt triples to $39b
Thursday, May 6

Mayne: Mining slug mainly hits multinationals, so who cares?
Monday, May 3

Congratulations to new publisher Pantera Press

New Australian book publisher Pantera Press was founded by former Macquarie Group executive and Worley Parsons director John Green and his family. It is run by daughter Alison and the group's first 3 books are now in good bookstores, with 4 more slated for later in the year.

The group has announced a partnership with The Smith Family to support Let's Read, a wonderful pre-school kids' literacy program.

They have also committed to sponsoring the coveted Walkley Award for newspaper feature writing for the 3rd year

It's great to see a new publisher on the Australian scene so check out where you can find lots of info/extracts about the books, authors etc.

Here's the detail on the first three offerings:

Killing Richard Dawson, a black, comedic thriller by debut author, Robin Baker, a young funeral director from Perth. The review in Booktopia: 'A startling, original voice on the crime scene... To die for... a new crime writer you simply have to read.'

WHY vs WHY: two books: Nuclear Power (YES vs NO) and Gay Marriage (YES vs NO), the first two in a unique series of small books tackling both sides of hot topics that confront, confuse or trouble people. They present these important & controversial debates in plain language in an easy-to-read, 2-books-in-1, flip-sided format. In each book, two opposing experts go head-to-head, so readers can make sense of it for themselves, or have the tools they need to convince others.

Sign up for Mayne Report Tweets

We have only been twittering for a few months, but now have 1311 followers and are regularly dropping out the latest developments from AGMs, capital raising plays and even Manningham Council. Sign up below to get the latest updates from all our activity and check out some of the latest tweets:

8.33am May 11: Peabody cuts Macarthur offer by $250m due so super tax. So what? It's 46% owned by Posco of Sth Korea, Chinese Govt and Arcellor of India.

11.15pm May 10: Check out latest Cornwall cartoons and listen to audio from GPT AGM today as strongly backed 2 female directors:

6.33pm May 10: Got up 8 times during 3hr GPT AGM. A couple of sprays but cordial overall. Check out Crikey yarn on Rudd and pokies:

2.08pm May 10: Exited Kings Minerals capital raising play for $1100 profit. Auditors speech in Sydney went well. About to enter the GPT AGM

1.23pm May 9:
Off to Sydney for speech to 900 at Internal Auditors conference. See Fairfax coverage of Alumina AGM battles:

7.45pm May 7: Just took a courtesy call from GPT CEO Michael Cameron ahead of GPT AGM on Monday in Sydney. Very different approach to Alumina chair today.

7.24pm May 7: UK Greens win 1st lower house single member seat for a Green party in general election in the world. Adam Bandt will be 2nd beating Tanner.

12.29pm May 7: Just back from Alumina AGM where 70yo chair Don Morley said my questions were offensive, despite applause. Others slammed his arrogance.

8.05pm May 6:
Watch my question on gambling to obfuscating Kevin Rudd from Melb Press Club today. It starts at 37 minute mark:

3pm May 6: Just asked K Rudd question about gambling at Melbourne Press Club lunch. He waffled so sounds like nothing will result from ProdComm report.

10.27am May 6: Appeared on The 7PM Project last night discussing the tweeting Logies scandal.

7.53pm May 5:
Did The 7pm Project on Ch 10 about Catherine Deveny. Sort of sat on the fence in the end. They were outrageous tweets but The Age plugged it

6.14pm May 5:
774 ABC Melbourne discussing the budget, Melbourne Storm and the resource tax

3.08pm May 4:
Just exited $10,000 MMA capital raising for $1000 gain - best since Avexa on Jan 5. See full list of plays:

8.01pm May 3: Evidence of housing bubble: Vic stamp duty revenue up from $2.8bn in 2008-09 to new forecast of $3.5bn for 2009-10. That's a 25% increase.

12.27pm May 3:
Our updated foreign owned resources projects list is proving very popular with readers. Check it out here:

9.30pm May 2:
Cripes, 10 comments on Crikey yarn endorsing super tax slug on largely foreign owned miners. Big reaction. See:

4.20pm May 2:
Blunden and Guthrie still slugging it out despite judge urging face-saving settlement on Friday. See details of morning action in Crikey.

3.54pm May 2:
Seven judgment:

9.38pm May 2:
Having some fun on Crikey Logies live blog:

6.38pm May 1: Like the resource rent tax proposal. Sector is 90% foreign owned so is the most patriotic way to raise cash. Even helps the current account.

8.30pm Apr 29: Just back from watching Peter Blunden give 6 hours of evidence in Guthrie damages claim. Someone's lying big time. Judge urged settlement.

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne