Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


UPDATE: Solid Energy board putsch takes more scalps

UPDATE: Solid Energy board putsch takes more scalps

By Pattrick Smellie

Nov. 9 (BusinessDesk) - The putsch on the Solid Energy quickened pace this afternoon, with the resignations of long-serving directors John McDonald and Simon Marsters.

They follow two others, former deputy chairman John Fletcher and Michelle Smith. All but McDonald's has been declared at the Companies Office. The former senior Fletcher Challenge executive confirmed to BusinessDesk from his home in Ohope Beach that he had resigned from the Solid Energy board.

That follows the departure of chairman John Palmer, also the chairman of Air New Zealand, whose resignation was signalled ahead of Solid Energy's disclosure of a $40.2 million loss after major capital writedowns and decisions to close non-coal businesses and severely curtail underground coal mining.

The status of the two remaining directors - David Patterson, a Wellington partner in law firm Chapman Tripp, and Australian metallurgist and professional mining company director Alan Broome - is unclear.

Broome has served on the Solid Energy board since 2006 and is director and chairman of Australian mining companies and sector organisations. The Sydney Morning Herald reported in July, under the headline "Broome Swept Out" that Broome was removed as chairman of the Australian coal company Endocoal at shareholders' instigation.

HSBC Custody Nominees, as custodian for clients holding 10.78 per cent of Endocoal, sought a shareholders' meeting to oust Broome, citing concerns he had "failed to oversee the company's budget properly", with Endocoal blowing the $15 million raised from its 2010 initial public offering a year earlier than had been set out in the prospectus.

"In January 2012 a further $12 million was sought through a placement … and still the company had failed to drill half the tenements,'' the SMH reported. Broome reportedly resigned as chairman of ASX-listed Jatenergy ''as a result of material differences of opinion with a number of the company's largest shareholders" in May.

Deputy chairman Fletcher, resigned with six months still to run on his six year directorship, while Michelle Smith left a year early after serving on the Solid Energy board since November 2010.

The resignations and appointments have yet to be announced publicly by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall, who has released a swag of other state-owned enterprise board appointments this week.

The moves follow the scheduled departure of Solid Energy’s long-serving chairman Palmer earlier this year, coinciding with a massive restructuring as the company announced it was facing a $200 million revenue shortfall in the current financial year.

It has moved to cut 25 percent of its workforce, has put the Spring Creek underground coal mine in “care and maintenance”, has put expansion of the Huntly East coal mine on hold, and announced writedowns and disposals on several failed initiatives to diversify beyond coal mining into renewable energy and bio-fuels.

Chief executive Don Elder described the deterioration in global coking coal prices as an “extreme” and sudden downturn which caught the company by surprise. However, the meltdown has made government advisers question the previous board's oversight of Elder's numerous initiatives in non-core coal mining activities.

Solid Energy's difficulties have seen it withdrawn as one of the four state-owned energy companies to be partially privatised.

In a statement to BusinessDesk, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said “a new chair has recently been appointed to Solid Energy and the company is moving into a new phase.”

“As has been previously indicated, there would be some changes at Solid Energy, and a number of directors’ terms were coming to an end in the next few months.”

Auckland’s Watercare Services chief executive, Mark Ford, who led the government’s Auckland super-city merger, was appointed to replace Palmer.

Sources pointed to basic metrics such as the fact that Solid Energy had produced around 4 million tonnes of coal annually for some years, but that its workforce had expanded from around 400 to nearer 1,500.

Companies Office records also show the appointment of one new director, Neville Sneddon, a Sydney-based mining engineer listed as non-executive chairman of CSM Energy, a specialist firm consulting to mining companies seeking to reduce costs, improve profitability and manage mines over their full life cycle.

Sneddon’s career includes senior management of the mines inspectorate in New South Wales, chief operating officer of Shell Coal, later the Australian coal arm of Anglo American, and adviser to state and federal governments on mine safety.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Julian Wilcox Leaves Māori TV

Māori Television has confirmed the resignation of Head of News and Production Julian Wilcox. Mr Maxwell acknowledged Mr Wilcox’s significant contribution to Māori Television since joining the organisation in 2004. More>>

ALSO:

Genetics: New Heat Tolerant Cow Developed

Hamilton, New Zealand-based Dairy Solutionz Ltd has led an expert genetics team to develop a new dairy cow breed conditioned to thrive in lower elevation tropical climates and achieve high milk production under heat stress. More>>

Fractals: Thousands More Business Cards Needed To Build Giant Sponge

New Zealand is taking part in a global event this weekend to build a Menger Sponge using 15 million business cards but local organisers say they are thousands of business cards short. More>>

Scoop Business: NZ Net Migration Rises To Annual Record In September

New Zealand’s annual net migration rose to a record in September, beating government forecasts, as the inflow was spurred by student arrivals from India and Kiwis returning home from Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fletcher To Close Its Christchurch Insulation Plant, Cut 29 Jobs

Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s largest listed company, will close its Christchurch insulation factory, as it consolidates its Tasman Insulations operations in a “highly competitive market”. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Novartis Adds Nine New Treatments Under Pharmac Deal

Novartis New Zealand, the local unit of the global pharmaceuticals firm, has added nine new treatments in a far-ranging agreement with government drug buying agency, Pharmac. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Wary On Tax Take, Could Threaten Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning the tax take may come in below forecast in the current financial year, as figures released today confirm it was short by nearly $1 billion in the year to June 30 and English warned of the potential impact of slumping receipts from agricultural exports. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Outage: Power Mostly Restored Overnight

Vector wishes to advise that all but 324 customers have been restored overnight. These customers are spread throughout the network in small pockets. The main St Johns feeder was restored around midnight allowing most of the customers in all affected areas to have power this morning. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news