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Trevor Janes is Not Independent

Trevor Janes is Not Independent

29 November 2007: Masthead Portfolios said today that it welcomed the decision to reject the independent status on the Abano board of Mr Trevor Janes.

“It was clear to us all along that Mr Janes had a conflict of interest,” said Masthead’s Mark Stewart.

Mr Janes is a director of Salvus Strategic Investments Limited, which is a substantial security holder in Abano. Salvus currently holds approximately a 5.65 per cent shareholding in Abano, having made further purchases of shares after Masthead announced its offer on the 13 September. Mr Janes is also an investment advisor to the ACC, which also owns a significant number of shares in Abano.

It is Mr Janes’ role as director of Salvus that disqualifies him under the NZX Listing Rules from being an Independent director of Abano.

“We raised this right from the beginning (in a letter on 21 September) with the Abano board chairman, Alison Paterson," Mr Stewart said. "She, however, continually rejected the suggestion that Mr Janes was conflicted, which surprised us given this is a key corporate governance issue.

“As a result of this prevarication, Mr Janes has been able to play a significant part in board deliberations regarding our offer. Indeed, we have been surprised by the very negative attitude towards our offer, which has been put on the table in good faith.

“Clearly this negativity makes it much harder for our offer to succeed. This is despite the fact that our $5.00 per share offer price represents a massive 47 per cent premium to the price the Abano shares were trading at before we launched our bid. We also note that the Abano share price is currently trading well below our offer.”

Masthead’s offer is set to close on December 10.


ENDS

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