IAN MCILWRAITH August 21, 2012
Shareholders voted on Friday to give the Metal Bank share issues the go-ahead. Photo: Regis Martin
MORPHING explorer Metal Bank has been forced to produce a prospectus for its latest venture that is 50 pages longer than the one it used to go public only 18 months ago - yet investors still will not see the two words that could really give them an insight: ''Mick Shemesian''.
Companies associated with Shemesian, renowned for his dab hand in parcelling up global exploration prospects that he sells to listed companies for swags of shares and a royalty, are about to add to an already substantial stake in the company, from what Insider can unravel of the public documents.
The latest round of share issues is designed to pay off a $500,000-plus liability on the Metal Bank balance sheet from its buying 80 per cent of Spinifex Ridge East last year.
Shareholders voted on Friday to give the issues the go-ahead, although the resolutions were secondary to the main deal that they had to approve - which was buying the Queensland coal leases in private company Scott Creek Coal from Rhodes scholar and Carabella Resources director Michael Addison. Metal Bank is to be renamed Scott Creek once all the shares are awarded. Chairman Vince Fayad told Insider yesterday that Australian Securities and Investments Commission records are running a little behind, and that there are 30 shareholders other than Addison, but ASIC is still processing the filings.
Insider also asked Fayad why it was that when Metal Bank first bought into Spinifex Ridge last year, he had declared a conflict and made no recommendation to investors on how to vote - but did not do so for last week's meeting when more shares were being allotted to the same parties. Fayad, who was not specific on what the conflict was, said that given it was aired to shareholders last year, it was felt that this year it was a matter of public record.
In one of those coincidences, the Spinifex Ridge vehicle was incorporated barely a fortnight after Metal Bank's public listing in March. A condition of buying Spinifex in May was that Fayad and Michael Sutherland (who stepped down last Friday) joined the board.
Fayad's former colleague at accounting firm PKF, Gary Holbrook, was nominated as vendor of Spinifex, representing the Australian Royalties Corporation ''as trustee for Australian Pensioners Fund Trust''. Oddly enough, ASIC records also show a company called Australian Pensioners Fund has Wanda Lee Clarke, reported to be Shemesian's partner, as sole shareholder. She and Holbrook are co-directors.
ARC gained notoriety a few years back for emerging from nowhere to receive a $23 million stake in Aztec Mining, and being ostensibly controlled by a Sydney cafe owner, Sam Gabrielian. ASIC records show that the sole shareholder is now Sydney lawyer, Sevag Chalabian, who has also served with Fayad and moved within the Shemesian orbit.
Some 6 million of the 11.4 million additional shares to be issued by Metal Bank for Spinifex are going to ARC's ''consultant'', Europe Resources, although Insider has not been able to trace that company.
As far as Insider can see, about the only fun so far for anyone who invested 20¢ a share in Metal Bank at the beginning of 2011, and is now seeing their stock languishing at 5¢, has been watching it change direction and owners.
DANIEL Grollo's construction company Grocon was clearly not amused by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's industrial tactics on one of his Melbourne building sites last week, and went to court to win an injunction against them.
In an amended claim filed with the Supreme Court of Victoria yesterday, Grocon nominated a series of CFMEU officials it alleged participated in a picket of one site after it declined to employ certain shop stewards as demanded by the union. Apart from some of the better-known CFMEU characters, such as John Setka and Shaun Reardon, Grocon named ''a person known (sic) the plaintiffs only as 'Perky'''. Insider can be grateful that Pinky was not fingered as well.
ALL that glisters is not gold at the moment - it is copper, judging by the performance of exploration tiddlers. As expected, cash-strapped Sabre Resources yesterday began taking advantage of its copper-plated share price, trying to raise $5 million to fund the Namibian prospect that sent its shares soaring to a peak of 36¢ last week.
The offer yesterday was for 19.2 million shares at 26¢ each. Sabre's shares were down at 8.7¢ this month, and had the company tried to raise a similar amount then, it would have added about 60 million shares to its capital base.