Tasmanian Times

Economy

Gunns’ White Knight gallops in. Pollies, Lara. Tom Ellison: ‘It’s desperation’

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• Yesterday on Tasmanian Times: Richard Chandler is a major shareholder in Sino-Forest, a Chinese-Canadian company whose principle businesses include the ownership and management of plantations; sale of standing timber and logs; and manufacturing of wood products. Sino-Forest is currently facing charges of fraud in Canada, and is being investigated by Canadian authorities. Its shares fell more than 70% after these allegations were laid and the company has been placed in a trading ban having lost most of its value, and the company is teetering on bankruptcy. Is this Gunns’ White Knight … ? PtM’s message to Mr Chandler: HERE Ed: It should be noted that Chandler bought into Sino-Forest when Sino’s shares plummeted after the allegations were made, as the Financial Post report makes clear.

• Canada Halts Trading in Sino-Forest of China

By IAN AUSTEN, DealBook, NYT, August 26, 2011

OTTAWA — Canada’s top securities regulator on Friday accused a Chinese forestry company of fraudulently inflating its revenue and exaggerating the extent of its timber holdings.

The regulator suspended trading for 15 days in shares of the company, Sino-Forest, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange. But its directive came amid some confusion. The Ontario Securities Commission at first took the very unusual step of ordering five directors and officers of Sino-Forest to resign — only to rescind that demand just hours later.

Wendy Dey, a spokeswoman for the regulator, said that the order against the executives, which included Allen T. Y. Chan, the chairman and chief executive of Sino-Forest, was reversed after the commission determined that it could not force their resignations without holding a hearing.

Chris Nicholls, a professor specializing in securities law at the University of Western Ontario, said that he could not recall the commission previously trying to remove corporate officials without a hearing. “But that’s probably because they can’t do it,” he added. “Clearly there was some mistake.”

Sino-Forest has been the subject of considerable controversy since June, when Muddy Waters Research issued a report by a short-seller, Carson Brock, that called the company a “multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme” that was “accompanied by substantial theft.”

A reporter for The Globe and Mail of Toronto subsequently spent two weeks visiting various properties ostensibly owned or controlled by Sino-Forest and its subsidiaries. It proved to be a trek that frequently led him to nonexistent addresses and empty offices. Like Muddy Waters, the newspaper also found evidence that Sino-Forest had greatly inflated the size of its forestry assets.

After the accusations, Sino-Forest’s stock price tumbled and the hedge fund manager John Paulson, who had been one of the company’s largest shareholders, dumped his shares. His hedge fund, Paulson & Company, which had owned 35 million shares, is estimated to have lost nearly $500 million on Sino-Forest.

Neither Sino-Forest nor its public relations agency would provide comment about the order on Friday.

While Sino-Forest initially rejected the assessment of Muddy Waters and dismissed The Globe and Mail’s article, it did appoint a independent committee of directors to review the accusations. Earlier this month, it said that the review was taking longer than first anticipated because of, among other things, “challenges associated with the sourcing and verification of data in China.”

The securities commission offered no specific details about the reasons for its decision. But in addition to finding that Sino-Forest might have inflated what it owns as well its revenue, its investigators found that the company “appears to have engaged in significant non-arm’s-length transactions.” The commission now has 15 days to hold a hearing if it wants to extend the trading ban or impose the forced resignations.

According to the commission, Sino-Forest has raised about $3 billion through stock and bond issues in Ontario.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has sought to maintain its position as a center for the trading of shares in resource-based companies by actively seeking listings from overseas operations. Even before the concerns about Sino-Forest were raised, there have been questions over how North American investors can accurately assess claims made about the value of mining, energy and timber properties in remote parts of the world that are controlled by overseas corporations.

Many of those overseas companies, including Sino-Forest, now trade in Canada because they have taken over a dormant company with a Canadian stock listing. That allows them to list without first filing a prospectus.

Canadian regulators have begun an investigation into such reverse-merger companies, while the United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning in June about investing in these companies.

Muddy Waters’ accusations fell into two broad categories. It claimed that Sino-Forest was fabricating lumber sales through a complex series of interrelated companies, including at least 20 corporations registered in the British Virgin Islands. At the same time, the research report said that Sino-Forest had greatly inflated the value of its timber lands, again through complicated transactions.

The company’s auditors — Ernst & Young Canada — did not detect these practices, Muddy Waters claimed, because of geographical and cultural differences. The firm did not respond to a request for comment.

“When the auditors are based in Canada, and the fraud is in China, the auditors are far less versed in the games fraudsters can play in China,” the report said.

In addition to Mr. Chan, the commission initially demanded the resignations of Albert Ip, senior vice president development and operations for Northeast and Southwest China; Alfred C. T. Hung, vice president for corporate planning and banking; George Ho, vice president of finance; and Simon Yeung, an executive with a Sino-Forest subsidiary.

DealBook, NYT, HERE

• Financial Post: Sino’s extended halt spurs debate

Financial Post Staff Sep 8, 2011 – 6:59 PM ET | Last Updated: Sep 12, 2011 11:53 AM ET

By Barbara Shecter and Peter Koven

The Ontario Securities Commission’s decision to extend a cease-trade order on Sino-Forest Corp. shares through January 2012 has ignited debate about whether investors are best-served when they can’t trade, even when there is limited or unreliable information in the market.

On Thursday, the commission extended the cease-trade order on the shares of the embattled timber company through January 25 of 2012. An OSC lawyer said the regulator needs to complete its investigation before allowing further trading, so that all investors have equal and accurate information. The move was not opposed by the company or former senior executives who have been removed from active duty.

But in the meantime, investors are locked into their positions and left with the possibility their holdings will be worthless by the time the details of parallel investigations by the OSC and an independent committee of Sino-Forest are complete.

A veteran securities lawyer questioned the regulator’s decision, saying a cease-trade order “is a blunt instrument” that “should always be of last resort” in such cases.

“No matter how bleak the story is, letting the stock trade after a short halt is better,” he said, adding that the OSC appears to want to play up the protection of investors while clearly interfering with free market activity.

However, another senior lawyer at a Bay Street firm countered that the regulator is faced with a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision on such disclosure because there can be complaints if the marketplace is not allowed to function, but also if investors get burned when shares in a questionable company continue to trade.

“It’s probably better to be criticized for acting too quickly than to be criticized for having tolerated fraud and not having taken immediate action,” he said.

In this case, the OSC, under chair Howard Wetston, has decided that the best way to create a level playing field is to make sure no one trades until complete information is available to everyone in the marketplace.

The decision was crucial because shares of Sino were climbing even though there was little reliable information about the besieged company. Retail investors appeared to be following the lead of a pair of large institutional investors, Wellington Management LP, and the Richard Chandler Corp., which were aggressively buying shares in the weeks after short-seller Muddy Waters LLC accused the company of fraud.

In fact, Richard Chandler bought 1.2 million shares on Aug. 24. That very afternoon, commission staff were informed that two Sino vice-presidents had been temporarily suspended, according to an affidavit sworn by a senior OSC forensic accountant. The next day, OSC staff learned of the suspension of a third vice-president.

The stock was cease-traded on Aug. 26 and it was only then that information about the suspensions was revealed to the public.

While Sino-Forest shares remain cease-traded, the company’s bonds continue to trade. They are currently worth less than 30¢ on the dollar.

The OSC hearing on Thursday focused entirely on the shares rather than the bonds, and the bondholders are frustrated as they feel the commission is ignoring them entirely. Paul Battaglia, managing director at Trilogy Class Actions, noted that some of the bonds are convertible into shares, and he complained that there is not “a level playing field” for investors in Sino-Forest.

“What a lot of people don’t see is that bondholders take priority over stockholders when the company is wound up. It begs the question: Why haven’t bondholders been part of the conversation so far?” he said.

Mr. Battaglia is studying a potential class-action lawsuit against Sino-Forest on behalf of the bondholders, noting that the company has about US$1.96-billion in long-term debt. That dwarfs the value of its equity, which was $1.18-billion when it was cease-traded.

Sino-Forest’s independent committee is expected to complete its internal investigation of the company by the end of the year.

A lawyer for Allen Chan, Sino’s chief executive who stepped down amid the scandal, attended Thursday’s hearing but said little about her client’s plans.

“He’s obviously co-operating,” she said after the hearing.

Financial Post HERE

• Wall St Journal: Sino-Forest Probe Fails to Answer Key Questions

By DUNCAN MAVIN, Wall St Journal, FEBRUARY 1, 2012

The independent committee investigating fraud allegations at Chinese timber company Sino-Forest Corp. issued its final report but failed to answer key questions about the company’s accounting, including whether it valued its assets correctly.

The troubled Canadian-listed Chinese forestry company, which is under investigation by Canadian securities regulators and police, delivered its report Wednesday, several months after the allegations were made by short-selling firm Muddy Waters LLC.

The special investigative committee—made up of external lawyers and auditors, as well as company officers—that compiled the report, said “there remain outstanding issues that have not been fully answered.” Those issues include details on …

And that’s where the WSJ subscriber content preview ends …

• Gunns: GUNNS RECAPITALISATION TO RAISE UP TO $280 MILLION

Please refer to link below for the full announcement:

http://www.gunns.com.au/Content/uploads/documents/MEDIA%20RELEASE%20-%202012%2002%2008%20-%20Gunns%20Recapitalisation.pdf

Greg L’Estrange, Managing Director

GUNNS RECAPITALISATION TO RAISE UP TO $280 MILLION

Plantation company Gunns Limited has agreed commercial terms for the introduction of a $150 million investment from the Richard Chandler Corporation (RCC).

In conjunction with a rights issue to existing shareholders, the recapitalisation aims to raise up to $280 million.

The recapitalisation, combined with the ongoing asset sale process, will leave Gunns effectively debt free, providing stability for the finalisation of the financing structure for the Bell Bay Pulp Mill.

Under the proposed recapitalisation, RCC will invest $150 million in Gunns through a share placement and bond issue.

A further $130 million is proposed to be raised in a pro-rata renounceable rights issue to existing shareholders, offering 1.3 new shares for every one share at $0.12 per share.

Gunns will seek shareholder approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting for the transaction, which will see RCC hold approximately 39 per cent of Gunns shares following the recapitalisation, if all shareholders take up their entitlement.

The EGM is expected to be held in mid April, with the transactions, if approved, completed in May 2012.

Alan Kelly, senior advisor to the Richard Chandler Corporation said: “Gunns has been restructured over the past few years into a world-scale plantation forestry company”. “We see its future as building a foundation for sustainable development and economic growth which will provide a future for the Tasmanian forestry industry”.

“The Richard Chandler Corporation proposes to work with Gunns management to catalyse the Bell Bay Pulp Mill.

The Pulp Mill Project is expected to create over 3,000 jobs, significant bio-energy power generation, strong export revenues and approximately $1 billion in federal and state taxes.

We believe it will make a significant long term contribution to the Tasmanian and Australian economies.”

Gunns Managing Director Greg L’Estrange said the new capital would provide certainty and stability for the company to finalise the financing structure for the construction and operation of the Bell Bay Pulp Mill.

“In combination with the asset sales program, the proposed recapitalisation will facilitate a further significant reduction in company debt,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“This will provide the platform for us to proceed with our core strategy, based on the softwood sawmilling business and the utilisation of our extensive Tasmanian hardwood plantation estate within the proposed Bell Bay Pulp Mill.”

About the Richard Chandler Corporation

The Richard Chandler Corporation is a private investment group based in Singapore and founded by New Zealand-born entrepreneur Richard F. Chandler. The Richard Chandler Corporation’s mission, Building Prosperity for Tomorrow’s World, adopts a holistic approach to building sustainable prosperity through investments in financial and social enterprises.

Since 1986, the Richard Chandler Corporation has provided capital to companies and governments from Asia and Africa to Latin America and Eastern Europe, and invested in a wide range of industries, such as telecoms, power, steel, banking and energy.

• Brown puts pulp mill opposition to Chandler

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown has today written to Mr Richard Chandler, the new investor in Gunns Ltd, recommending he look at better investment opportunities in Tasmania than the unpopular pulp mill proposal in the Tamar Valley.

“The polluting pulp mill cuts right across Tasmania’s ‘clean, green and clever’ branding and it is only fair that Mr Chandler knows at the outset that the pulp mill proposal is a dinosaur which should be extinct,” Senator Brown said.

“I have suggested to Mr Chandler that we catch up so I can outline to him how the pulp mill process was corrupted, why it is so divisive and the much better options for investment and job creation in Tasmania.”

• Today’s Share Price: HERE

• Tom Ellison, Wills Financial Group: Gunns treating shareholders with contempt

A plan by timber group Gunns to hand control of the company to an overseas corporation is not in the best interests of shareholders, according to a Tasmanian analyst.

Tom Ellison, general manager of independent research and advisory firm Wills Financial Group, said the proposed capital raising smacked of desperation, and would do little to help the company’s precarious financial position.

“Just six weeks ago, Gunns claimed the break-up value of each share was 91 cents,’’ Mr Ellison said. “Now, the company intends raising another $280 million by issuing new shares at just 12 cents.’’

Gunns’ most recent financial statements showed liabilities greater than $800 million, and a first-half loss of more than $100 million will be announced later this month.

“Gunns needs to come clean on it’s true financial position and explain to shareholders why greater efforts aren’t being made to realise true shareholder value,’’ Mr Ellison said.

“If the real value of the shares is 91 cents, the Board have a duty of care to shareholders to explore all options, including an orderly liquidation of assets and repayment of debts. Simply hoping a joint venture partner for a pulp mill, together with more than $2 billion in debt funding will miraculously appear amounts to treating shareholders with contempt.’’

Wills Financial Group is an independent, Tasmanian-based advisory and research firm specialising in ethical investment strategies.
Tom Ellison
General Manager
Wills Financial Group Pty Ltd

• Kim Booth, Greens Forestry Spokesperson: New undertaker for Gunns, as Banks Retreat And Shareholders Burnt

The Tasmanian Greens said today that the Tamar Valley pulp mill’s final death notice was being prepared, with the Richard Chandler Corporation’s proposal to take control of $150 million of Gunns assets and the dilution of shareholder value through a rights issue.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the company’s announcement of a desperate capital raising effort has done nothing to forestall the demise of the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.

“Far from being a reprieve for the pulp mill, the Chandler Corporation has effectively become the new undertaker for Gunns,” said Mr Booth.

“If this deal proceeds then Singapore will effectively own the company, with shareholders value reduced by close to two thirds.”

“Hopefully Chandler Corporation walks away in disgust, rather than risk their money and their international reputation if they proceed with this unacceptable white elephant project.”

“This is a death notice for the pulp mill and any company foolish enough to risk their money on this project will meet a wall of opposition by Tasmanians, united in their determination to protect their health and safety from the corruptly approved pulp mill.”

“If Richard Chandler claims that he is interested in ethical investments mean anything, he will run a mile from this toxic and corrupt pulp mill. The project has been spawned on deceit and lies and nothing can be done to make it meet community expectations on ethical or social licence grounds.”

“The Greens hold no doubt that the only reason the banks did not foreclose on Gunns recently was this deal going on in the background.”

“Chandler Corporation will have taken control of plantation assets to protect their cash and now have control of the company.”

“Their cash flow will be repaid by exporting plantation woodchips, grown at taxpayer expense through MIS schemes and shareholders sold down the river by rights issues,” Mr Booth said.

• Vica Bayley, Tasmanian Campaign Manager, TWS: Chandler could move Gunns and Tamar from pulp mill disaster

If the Singapore-based private equity firm Richard Chandler Corporation succeeds in taking a controlling stake in Gunns, it has an opportunity to guide the company away from the current pulp mill proposal towards an alternative, socially acceptable plantation-based future, the Wilderness Society said today.

The Society has raised doubt about the Gunns’ capacity to raise the necessary capital to build the pulp mill in the current global economic climate and against the backdrop of ongoing opposition from the community and environmental groups.

“A new player with a controlling stake in Gunns opens up the opportunity for a new direction that properly considers the communities views, abides by due process and sets the company on a conflict-free future focused on alternatives to the divisive Tamar valley pulp mill,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for The Wilderness Society.

“The pulp mill lacks a social licence due to a range of issues associated with its dodgy assessment and outstanding environmental, social and economic concerns that have not been properly addressed.”

“Any new investor must be aware of the ongoing opposition to the pulp mill and use their influence to build a future for the company around processing options that do not perpetuate community conflict.”

“Building a new future for the company and the timber industry around the most divisive and discredited project the state has seen for many decades does not represent a positive trajectory.”

“Any company with values around community empowerment, governance and ethics could not pursue a project with such a poor legacy in these key areas,” concluded Mr Bayley.

• Lara Giddings, MP, Premier: Gunns investment welcome

The Premer, Lara Giddings, today welcomed billionaire Richard Chandler’s investment in Gunns Limited as a sign that Tasmania is well and truly open for business.

Ms Giddings said the investment was a massive boost for Gunns Limited that would bring the pulp mill closer to fruition.

“The Labor Government strongly supports the pulp mill and we welcome the Richard Chandler Corporation’s commitment to work with Gunns to bring the project to financial close,” Ms Giddings said.

“The $2.3 billion pulp mill would be wholly plantation fed and would create more than 3000 jobs at a time when the forest industry is going through a difficult transition.

“Today’s announcement highlights the ridiculousness of Will Hodgman’s claim that Tasmania is closed for business.

“His view is not shared by the TCCI*, it is not shared by the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania*, and it is clearly not shared by one of New Zealand’s richest men.

“This kind of self-serving politicking does nothing to support Tasmanian businesses or create jobs in our state.

“I would call on Will Hodgman to stop talking Tasmania down and recognise the strength and resilience of our economy.”

*“As far as business goes… this state is open for business, there’s no question of that, and there are a lot of projects running.., running into the millions of dollars.” Robert Wallace, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ABC, 16/01/2012).

*”The last thing that we need is.., for negativity from politicians to be souring the way that people think, and.., you know this.., this slogan, which.., which continues on and on of Tasmania being closed for business, I.., it just doesn’t wash with people.” Adrian Kelly, Real Estate Institute of Tasmania. (ABC 3/02/2012)

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56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Dimity Hirst

    February 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    #57 grow up
    #55 mind your own business

    #59 Thanks … I think I am over the personal abuse of this site, I love a debate but for me and the many times I have stated I hate it when it apparently needs to become personal …

  2. Russell

    February 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Re #59
    A simple straight forward question, Barry, requiring a simple yes or no. Absolutely no ‘bully boying’ in it at all.

    However, it is patently clear by Dimity’s non-answer that she/he has NO Gunns shares and has NO intention to buy any because she/he knows that she/he will be throwing her/his money away.

    I would have an educated guess that you, Barry, also don’t have any Gunns shares and no intention of buying any either?

  3. Barry

    February 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Oh how the veridian bullies come out of the wood work or should that be the native forests when there is a comment from someone who dares to question the sanctity of their position or their right to win every game.

    As to the persistent demands of Mr Langfield for answers to questions he asks – there are many questions I would like to ask him but again the TT standards apply and I’m not allowed to.

    So just for once and as hard as it no doubt is boys and girls in the bright green strip try kicking the ball and not the defender, elsewhere this is called a foul and a free kick or a penalty is awarded as it should be here, level playing field and all that.

    #57 surely that childish petty bully boy response breeches the TT standards?

  4. Baz

    February 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Once again we see a clear illustration of the Dunning Kruger effect.

  5. Valleywatcher

    February 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    #53 – OK Dimity. – sweetheart you ain’t! With apologies.

  6. Sydney Tassie

    February 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Re Dimity: stop and think about what you are saying, better still try to play devils advocate and see it from the other side.

    I live out of Tasmania, but am a very proud Tasmanian of many generations, probably long before Dimity. But I do have a ‘vested interest’ in not seeing the pulp mill proceed just as I have vested interests in caring for Australia and the world. I don’t have any kids to leave anything to or pledge a better world. I simply care.

    There are only a few people who will yield untold riches and it ain’t going to be us. I’m not rich enough, or clever enough, or corrupt enough or nepotistic enough or selfish enough to do so, unlike Gunns or their new ‘saviour’- Chandler. But that won’t stop me believing in people power to at least try amend the damage.

  7. Russell

    February 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Re #53

    Please answer the question “have you bought or are you going to buy any of Gunns’ shares?”

    A simple straight forward question, requiring a simple yes or no.

  8. Miss Money Penny

    February 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Oh Dimity, you are so naive. Do you really believe the Gay family, councillors and other politicians who support the project will live within breathing distance of its emissions? Sure, those pollies they may have a small proportion of their wealth invested in the area (mainly to keep their political seats) but they do not LIVE in the Tamar Valley in the true sense of the word. Don’t you understand the concept of ‘vested interest’? You’ve admitted that you have close links to Gunns and the logging industry. Try to have another look at the history of the project from an objective point of view.

    It’s not just ‘Greens’ who oppose the mill but a whole cross-section of the community who believe major industrial projects should pass independent planning scrutiny. This mill FAILED independent approval. It was simply rubber stamped by midnight legislation pushed through by Gunns’ government buddies.

    You seem to think the project will yield untold riches to the community. Has this happened to the town of Tumut? Of course not!

  9. Dimity

    February 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    #51 … don’t ever call me sweetheart.

    #50 if I had more time in my day to go over everything I wrote down and spell it correctly my days would need to be 60hrs long.
    I have a family, businesses, and maybe once I reach old age I will have more time to be correct … in my view its more important to be heard.

    Any way you obviously can read my words … so I don’t think its causing you too much trouble …

    AND I can happily say for that matter … how many doctors scripts can you read .. lol …
    Honestly …

  10. Dimity

    February 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    #49 I must apologise .. I didn’t mean to refer to yourself as a green ..

    I do beleive the numbers are incorrect as their simply isn’t the trucks or business in Tasmania currently to support these figures. I think that maybe that could have been Gunns ideal when the report was written but not now in this time … it would take a very long time for the forestry industry to get anywhere near the numbers they quoted, and for the investment required a fair wack more of security.

    And yes I do care … very much. I choose to live here, my children all go to school in Launceston, and will continue to do so for at least another 15 years .. so I do mind what happens in our state.

    I want there to be jobs and employment with a balance … I beleive that the balance between industry and environmental issues is WAY out of wack. For farmers, forestry and even small business .. which are issues that effect me directly … there is too much red tape, many many restrictions and planning involved … I’m not saying these weren’t put in for good reason, but what I am saying in relation to forestry is that it seems not to be recongised at all. Not everyone is out there to rid Tasmania of all its natural wonders. Tree’s are a sustainable commodity and all the people I have been involved with care and take pride in what they do.

    I am not privvy to all that has happened with the whole process of the pulpmill being approved … some things have seemed a little funny I agree .. but you know what in the end John Gay lives here too, his family and relatives. The councillors that went O/S to see how the mills work in other countries similar to this one … I don’t think that one company wants to destroy the whole of Tasmania as so many do. I have worked with Gunns, have family who worked within it, and I have never seen anything that has made me question their morals.

    Our planations and harvesting that we have done are always extremely well managed, and I am proud of the way it looks. Great care is taken to protect wildlife ( I remember one occasion seeing a logger peering down a hole in an old tree calling out sugar glider in here … and then moving on to another. Our plantations and selectively logged bush are for all to see from the side of the road. There is nothing about them I wouldn’t show the world.

    Please understand … everyone … that the world of forestry and the pulp mill isn’t full of rednecks … its families and communities that have and take just as much care of what we do as you would recycling your rubbish. Its all about caring for our environment to make sure that we can use it again … if its stuffed we’re stuffed.
    FT have done and let some tragic things happen … i agree … but I also think that it won’t ever happen again with the spotlight fairly and squarely on them.

    Give them credit to be able to change … gives Gunns the chance to build the worlds cleanest pulpmill .. and then sit back and watch. I will be on of the first on their backs if theres a stuff up … they only get one chance in my books but I want them to have the chance to do what they say they want to do.

    #48 … why do you think that is ? Nothing to do with all the “green” lobby heading o/s spreading lies about what we do here, their constant rage at anything productive ? If they had gone about this in a sensible way and not stopped a whole industry … I would have far more repect for them.

  11. Valleywatcher

    February 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

    #46 “……but I push the truth down your necks until you choke.” Nice one, Dimity! Now what makes YOUR “truth” the be-all-and-end-all in the truth department, may I ask? And who gives you the right to push ANYTHING down ANYONE’S neck?

    And what of the matters raised by Chris in post #47 about the abrogation of due process in this whole pulp mill affair – no matter how you like to gloss over that point it is the most relevant one there is. Due process was not followed. Fact. What occured is deeply flawed. Fact. Thinking people have a problem with that. Fact. Almost eight years and still nothing, nada, zilch. Fact.

    A so-called white knight riding in with a bit of a lifeline will not save this project (or this company, for that matter) – it’s doomed (not by any greenie rantings) but by cold, hard economics. A multi-billion dollar mill in an out-of-the-way place making the most expensive pulp in the world in a diminishing and depressed pulp market, without enough certified resource and when our dollar is phenomenally high just doesn’t stack up. Ain’t nothin’ to do with bellyachin’ greenies, sweetheart! Just sums.

  12. Russell

    February 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Re #46
    Dimity.

    First, you can take a little of your own advice and read what I posted. I didn’t say you bought or owned Gunns shares at all, did I?

    I asked have you or are you going to buy any?

    Secondly, in what way don’t you speak in the way I suggest? I suggested nothing.

    Thirdly, you posted earlier that a lot of your friends worked in the forest industry, including driving log trucks.

    Fourthly, “educated” like myself”? Maybe then you should use correct grammar and punctuation?

    So, regarding your undying support for Gunns’ pulp mill and the new share offer, have you bought or are you going to buy any? If it’s so good, you’ll be mega-rich in no time if you snap up a bundle at the bargain basement price of 12 cents.

  13. pilko

    February 9, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Dimity you cant have it both ways.

    You say you support the pulp mill but you believe Gunns own project IIS from where the 600 odd (one way) truck movement stat is sourced is not correct.

    So you believe Gunns have misinformed us on pulp log transport to and from the mill. So what else might Gunns have misinformed us about re the pulp mill Dimity? Do you know? Do you care? Its only one of the largest heavy industrial projects in the southern hemisphere.

    And Dimity if you continue to refer to me as a green i will refer to you as a Liberal or Redneck etc. Or you could just call me Rick or Pilko and I will CONTINUE to refer to you as Dimity, as i have done so far. Your call.

  14. Barnaby Drake

    February 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    38 Most retirement funds are run by superannuation firms … and I say
    most … not all … and how many of them have invested in Tasmania ???

    Try Unisuper, for instance. Got their fingers badly burnt by investing in Gunns, didn’t they? Left all the uni staff in the whole of Australia a bit short of funds for their retirement.

    But as you didn’t answer the question asked, I will repeat… self funded retirees who come here, pay their rates and taxes here, buy their groceries and take-aways from the corner shop and spend money at the local pub …. isn’t that employing people Dimity?

    More so than Gunns and Forestry who have sacked more workers in the last five years than can ever be employed in a pulp mill – and all without compensation!

  15. Chris Havill

    February 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Dimity, I can understand a number of your comments, and while not embracing your opinion fully, can see what your saying.

    This is what does not sit comfortably with me. It is the process of approvals that was followed. Leaving the RPDC process, the pulp mill assessment act being enacted to help get approval, and then the Feds EPBC Act really only looking at matters of national environmental significance.

    This due process is not transparent. Something seems amiss. The mill should be subjected to a full and independent assessment. I agree both sides of this debate are often extremist in their blogs. But the process of approval is where I am suspicious.

    It is unfortunately a very morbid state of affairs now.

  16. Dimity

    February 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Do any of you actually read what I write or are you so full of your own self importance that reading MY words is beyond you …

    Honestly I refuse to repeat myself ….

    Read it again … get off your high horses and understand that is is not about menial labour, its not about driving log trucks, its about the how industry in our state drives a whole community and for that a whole state. So many people have to benifit that I can’t really begin to put them all on paper.

    Its you guys who need to pull your heads out of the sand to see what is really going on here not me …

    #45 I think its you who needs to do homework … read my blog first before splurting off. And for the record I don’t own any moleskins … nor do I have a woodchip on my shoulder, I am just someone who is willing to challange you all on here in your little green idealogical world. Most of my friends can’t beleive I even bother with you all, but I push the truth down your necks until you choke.

    #44 If you think that everyone on the earth is blessed with the brains to be doctors then you are wrong. There are many children out there just are challenged, or simply don’t want be a white collar worker … we do need the indians as well as the chiefs … otherwise who would you have working for you ???

    #40 … where did I say I was buying shares … and if I or any of my children ever spoke like that I’d wash their mouths out with soap .. oh god .. now you’ll be at my back door for child abuse … I actually don’t have any “mates” who log, we are the ones who have suffered from this ridiculous scare campaign run against gunns … US and we don’t speak in the way you suggest ! Its not all about just loggers and uneducated people … some are educated like myself and my family and we are still affected by what is going on … I can only imagine what is happening in the homes of those who don’t have many other options for work … and I do know of many many people who have already left the state and their familes for work in QLD .. and that whether any of you like it or not is a FACT !

    #38 Most retirement funds are run by superannuation firms … and I say most … not all … and how many of them have invested in Tasmania ??? Not many I can tell you … the dollars go into large cattle stations and mines on the mainland and overseas … You show me one retiree that is starting a business here that can employee so many people directly and indirectly as this mill will.

    To be honest I don’t care where its built … we just need to stem the flow of jobs heading over the water … its beyond a joke now the amount of big business and industry that has left Tasmania and we seem to worry so little about it on this site … lets save the animals and the trees .. how about the top of our food chain or do you want us to become a federally funded national park ?

    #39 … How I would describe your comments would not satisfy the editor … Ignorance must be bliss … I hope your little “high” lasts you a long time.

  17. pilko

    February 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Dimity( Goodness me! Goodness me!).

    In case you hadnt bloody well noticed, Tasmania is a rural state. Most of us live rural. There is only one major city in tassie and it aint that big.

    Sorry to disappoint you Dimity but your not the only person in Tassie who wakes up to the sounds of birds and animals and pulls on their Moleskins dacks & RM Williams boots.

    Get over yourself and that big woodchip on your shoulder.

    And Dimity the truck numbers refer to total truck movements in and out of the mill in a day (1 truck might do 3-4 trips etc etc. Not numbers of trucks. Once again i say to you, do your homework.

  18. Mandi

    February 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    #42 – sadly, the answer to your question is yes. Dimity and her supporters not only view menial labouring work in the timber industry as aspirational, but they denigrate those who have higher vocational ambitions. Also, their views are so entrenched they regard logging as a cultural right and refuse to consider retraining into something that might offer them a future.
    #32 – Dimity, your comments regarding self-funded retirees are both offensive and incorrect. For your information, I do live in a rural community which has been rescued from mediocrity by none other than self-funded retirees. You might be surprised to know most of Australia’s wealth is owned by older Australians. Suggesting they have become wealthy because they don’t spend money simply confirms your naievety. Perhaps you need to mingle with a broader section of the community. And a final point – don’t be so dismissive about FACTS. The heavy vehicle movements required to service Gunns’ proposed pulp mill equate to one every 40 seconds on the East Tamar Highway. That fact comes from Gunns itself, and has been confirmed by the RACT and Launceston Chamber of Commerce. I doubt anybody who travels that road would so flippantly dismiss those facts as you chose to.
    Thanks, Mandi (business owner, employer of 14 people, and soon to be self funded retiree)

  19. William Boeder

    February 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    As I view these lukewarm developments ignited by the Kiwi Philanthropist, this is quite distant from the JVP saviour Greg and his fellow Gunns Ltd executives were desperately pursuing for the last couple of years.
    I am not convinced that the media photo of an evangelical beaming face of Mr Chandler is the true image of a man that has clamped his hungry little pinkies upon the amount of 4 plus Billion Dollars.

    Filthy rich roosters are thin on the ground and will only socialise with other filthy rich roosters. (Old Chinese saying.)

    How about the legendary Gunns Ltd 100 having a little cocktail party of welcome for this philanthropic champion of the worlds timber and other industries, should be a hoot, might even crack it into the social pages of The Extremer?

    An observation I put forward here is that there is no truly accurate means of perfectly quantifying the volumes of marketable timber in a large spread of Native Forest, (other than only by counting the volume “after” it has passed over the wood-chipping weigh-in scales?)

    Thus accurate timberered land inventories are ever only guess-timations, although there may be some degree of closer quantification of volume held in mono-species plantations, hence the arguable practices of Sino Forests previously, (said to be to exaggerate their claimed timbered holdings.)
    So harvested forestry timber would be a saleable product that can have enormous latitudes of variance in volume, any wonder Forestry Tasmania and Gunns Ltd were luxuriating together in their former alliance?
    There is still the prospect of Native Forest being chugged through the Pulp-Mill, it only takes a crude huddle of legislators to again change the forestry harvesting rules.

    So best to be wary to the futures of our remaining accessible Old Growth HCV Forests, the recent IGA has still not reined in Forestry Tasmania’s foolish selling off of our HCV forests for below harvest cost rates, now enter the Billionaire into our State to mesmerise our bumkin politicians to do his bidding.

  20. Miss Money Penny

    February 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Dimity and Ami – do you really think intelligent young Tasmanians aspire to be pulp mill workers or log truck drivers?

    The pulp mill with its minimum-pay workforce, log truck traffic, noxious air emissions and toxic effluent will turn the Tamar Valley into an industrial slum. Hardly an attractive place for any family to live!

    Tasmania ‘Open for Business’! Lara, how ridiculous! More like ‘Open for Crony Capitalism and Corruption’!

  21. Stephan

    February 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    “Today’s announcement highlights the ridiculousness of Will Hodgman’s claim that Tasmania is closed for business.”

    Spin cycle extraordinaire.

    A closing down sale is business, yes?

  22. Russell

    February 8, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Re #32

    How many Gunns shares have you snapped up?

    Get on board, Dim, put your money where your mouth is. Don’t forget to tell all your forestry maaaates the good news!

    Re #34
    The “new investor” actually mightn’t contribute a single cent at all, it’s just a proposal and if Gunns can’t come up with the new money the deal’s off.

  23. Pete Godfrey

    February 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Dimity you forgot a few jobs the pulp mill is certain to sustain.
    -The illegal manufacture of amphetamines that will be needed to keep all the truck drivers awake.
    (I know you will poo bah this but I know a man who used to drive a log truck from Bronte Park to Bell bay, he did three runs a day at 7 hours each run. He said he drove from Monday morning till lunchtime Friday then slept until Saturday night or Sunday and back to work monday) This is common for long haul drivers on the mainland too but as you get around you would know.
    _ Then there is the extra work for the Ambulance crews picking up dead and injured from the extra traffic load.
    – Then of course the extra work for doctors and nurses.
    – The extra work for medicos treating asthma patients from the smog caused by the pulp mill flowing up river into Launceston.
    -The extra work for road repair crews, bridge builders etc, ( each 40 tonne truck does the equivalent damage to 160,000 cars according to Deutsche Bank Research).
    -The extra work for police, attending accidents and chasing speeding log trucks, I do remember a few years ago that all trucks in Australia were supposed to be fitted with speed limiters. That seems to have dissapeared into the annals of history)
    If you don’t believe the 600 truck movements a day to the mill then it is obvious that you have not informed yourself by reading the Gunns IIS. It will also be of interest to you that the output from the Mill is actually larger than the mill they got approval for so the 600 trucks will actually be on the low side of estimates.

  24. Barnaby Drake

    February 8, 2012 at 4:52 am

    11. Once all the retired guys with there self funded schemes all benifiting(sic) the mainland and overseas are gone … there still needs to be someone here … Dimity

    Goodness Dimity … please explain to us just how these self-funded retirees, who come here, pay their rates and taxes here, buy their groceries and take-aways from the corner shop and spend money at the local pub are benefitting the mainland?

  25. Steve

    February 8, 2012 at 1:05 am

    28; Thanks for that Mandi. Well put.

  26. Maddie

    February 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    They still keep talking about a “2.3 billion dollar pulp mill”. That figure was touted 8 years ago. What would it cost now I wonder? I also keep hearing Leon Compton referring to “the Bell Bay pulp mill”. Could someone who is radio talk-back savvy please put him straight? Perhaps inform him at the land that has been cleared in LONGREACH was (until Gunns got hold of it) actually a nature reserve to provide a buffer zone for the Bell Bay industrial site?

  27. Scott

    February 7, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    25. Pete Godfrey: your point about Gunns money making ability has been puzzling me too.

    I’m not a financial expert, but it appears that Gunns have divested themselves of most of the activities that actually generated cash flow. If I’m reading the ASX announcement correctly, the new investor won’t be contributing anything until April, so where will the money come from to keep the show rolling for the next two months?

  28. John Groves

    February 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Re # 28 the mill might only employ 237 people but who will drive the trucks? “A heavy vehicle movement every 40 seconds” your words not mine that’s a lot of truck drivers and don’t forget about the harvesting crews and all the other associated jobs.
    What kind of job creating projects do the greens have? As for your rubbish claim that no one will visit the North because of the traffic by your logic no one would visit any major city or drive on highway in Australia for that same reason. There are hundreds of Tasmania’s with fly in fly out jobs where have you been on Mars?
    The comment of yours “left his family to find work is actually a rarity” shows your lack of understanding maybe it’s you that should put a bit of thought into your comments but I guess thinking may not be one of your strong points.
    By the logic employed by you and the Greens there will be a lot more people seeking work on the mainland as the employment opportunities dry up due to the closed for business attitude.
    I might also add that you are the one with the closed mind you just spew out the usual mind numbing anti everything green rhetoric just like the rest of your green mates.

  29. Dimity

    February 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Goodness Mandi … I know that the ex forest worker is not in the minority because I bother to get out into the community and ASK. AND I know of heaps and heaps of others personally … goodness knows how many are out there it boggles my mind.

    As far as MIS yes I am VERY familiar, I have been involved in a number of them … and yes I am aware of the numbers employed by the mill … but are you aware of the flow on effect from those jobs .. from the extra trucks on the road … 40 sec .. honestly … for a start this figure of 600 trucks is nonsense for the time being at least. Yes I am aware of the report but there is NOT 600 trucks in the state now .. and I would find it hard to beleive that there is at least half that figure … so it might take a while to work up to full production as far as that one goes.
    But back to the point … those trucks and drivers have to stop eat, get petrol, they need mechanics to service them, tyres to go on them … our tyre guys are down 60% since the whole logging thing went up the putt !! Not to mention the hydrolics guys, the nuts and bolts of the industry who keep trucks and drivers on our roads … it then flows back through the whole communitiy, the tyre companies need to put back on people, the takeaways the same and as we are all getting back to work we head to the pub for a drink !

    I can’t beleive I need to explain this again and again to everyone … if you lived and breathed in a rural community and didn’t just sit in the city or commute each day then you would see how important it is to have industry in our state.

    As for your wealthy retirees … don’t make me laugh … they are wealthy for one reason only … they don’t spend there money. It sits in their share portfolio benifiting the companies in it and i can bet that they aren’t in tasmania !!

    AND as you are obviously are NOT aware … when gunns harvest their planations … they plant new ones !!!! WHAT A THOUGHT !!! A sustainable industry !!! AND … yes there is an AND as they have said they will not longer take wood from HCF in Tasmania ….. woo hooo believe it or not there are plantations and non sensitive areas … I won’t go there … on the mainland that they can go too …

    So in concluding that I haven’t anaylsed any of these issues … I think you should have a long hard look at your on narrow minded views …

    I still can’t get past your comment on empathy on the weathy retirees .. my goodness … what is the world comming to if we need to rely on them … what a complete joke !!!

  30. mate

    February 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    It was only a matter of time before the vultures descended on the carcass.

    I have a red hot tip for you money grubbing dollar huggers; get onto Gunns now. This will facilitate RCC’s philanthropic program of parting the greedy with their money. “All aboard” I say.

    That warm alluring glow will be short lived before you realise it’s the picked clean bones of the Gunns carcass that are blinding you.

    What advantages will be granted RCC in this deal? And what commissions goes to Gunns internal architects? After any assets with actual value are flogged off to secure a short term 10-20% profit for RCC and commission for Gunns’ Judas’, the rest of you will get to pick over what’s left. That will be the assets marked as SFA for stock holders or 0-10c in the dollar for “secured investors”.

    Live it up turkeys, Thanksgiving is not far away.

  31. Mandi

    February 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Goodness Dimity, so a corporate transaction by an overseas raider will result in those little pubs and corner shops being busy? How lovely. Have you considered what might happen to those small businesses when nobody visits northern Tasmania anymore, after being scared away by a heavy vehicle movement every 40 seconds? Have you put some thought into your comment that your friend who left his family to find work is actually a rarity, despite the rhetoric of timber workers? Did you know that the proposed pulp mill will only employ 273 workers, and by Gunns’ own admission, will not result in a single new tree being cut down, hence no growth in logging, transport or associated industries. Do you know anything about Managed Investment Schemes? They no longer exist, and pulpwood is no longer being planted in any meaningful volume. Can you conclude from all that a pulp mill wouldn’t be able to find plantation feedstock within a decade, and we’d be back at square one – sourcing timber from our dwindling stocks of native forest? Do you know anything at all about how Gunns is going to fund a pulp mill? Have you shown any empathy and wondered about the impact of open slather logging on people (including wealthy retirees) who love Tasmania for reasons other than the price of bone-dry metric tonnes of woodchips? Have you analysed any of these issues with an open, questioning mind? Na, didn’t think so.

  32. John Powell

    February 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Peter#25,
    Reminds me of a skua picking over a whiting (once might have thought it was a white pointer) carcass The only winner is the skua. And the beach life guards (Giddings and Green)are patrolling outside the red flags!!! My money is on Black Caviar.

  33. Pilko

    February 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Perhaps the ANZ bank has told Gunns ‘you dont have a choice anymore. Sell to Chandler at bargain basement or meet your maker’.
    Steve Mayne said as much this a.m ‘Gunns only had two choices, sell the project or sell the company’.
    So Gunns sold the company.
    In terms of how this news is digested by mill opponents, some are telling us what we want to hear and some are telling us what we dont want to hear. Who is right?
    At this stage we have to take Chandler corp. at their word.
    Without some serious clout and the reemergence of a big ENGO, a Geoff Cousins (pick up the phone Richard F.) or a significant injection of money into the local campaign its essentially out of our hands.
    Whatever you think about Steve Mayne and his born again belief in the mill, he is a straight talker and as independent commentator as you will get on corporate shareholder issues. Here is some of todays comments.

    What does todays development mean for the pulp mill? Faaaaaaarked if i know.

    Just keep on throwin the kitchen sink at the maggots i guess.

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/tasmania/2012/02/private-investment-boost-for-gunns-water-issues-and-adult-education.html?site=northtas&program=hobart_mornings

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2012/s3425653.htm

  34. Pete Godfrey

    February 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    The statements by government members that it is now obvious that the “state is open for business” are ridiculous.
    How is any gamble on the stockmarket such as Mr Chandler is making in any way construed to be business. It is no more business than a game of two up or horse racing or for that fact playing poker machines.
    Mr Chandler is paying about 9 months worth of Gunns current losses. The company may end up debt free, but I for one doubt that. If it does end up debt free, so what. They have no money making ability at the moment, plantation trees in the ground without MIS investors coming in are not worth money they are actually a liability.
    I don’t think that Mr Chandlers company have any interest in a pulp mill at Longreach or anywhere else, they are out to make a quick buck. Simple as that. No Jobs, No buildings, No liabilities just money changing hands.
    So as the old saying goes, “Believing is Seeing” and I will believe there is a pulp mill at Longreach when I actually see one.

  35. Dimity

    February 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    My word #13 …. now now I can’t believe what I am reading … you’re draging Ben Gray into this ???? truely ???

    Where do you people live … because honestly I think its a whole different planet to the one I’m on.

    I mean Singapore … or hang on lets pop the whole of southern asia into it …. is just such a small place … goodness it wouldn’t be hard at all to be playing squash with someone .. nearly double Bens age, in such a small place … maybe they send their kids to the same school, or even better see the same doctor and met in the sugery getting their ingrown toe nails fixed !! Honestly get a grip here !

  36. Kon Dratieff

    February 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    This shows Tom Ellison is not the only one with doubts…

    DJ MARKET TALK: Australian Equities Roundup -2-
    08/02/2012 02:15PM AEST
    1412 [Dow Jones] Gunns (GNS.AU) doubles in early trade to 25 cents then eases to be last up 5.5 cents or 44% at 18 cents on volume of 80 million shares, almost 10% of issued equity. Investors initially gave a big tick to plans to raise up to A$280 million in new capital, with A$150 million to come from Richard Chandler Capital, which would make it a cornerstone partner and catalyst for the development of the A$2.3 billion Bell Bay pulp mill. But what appears to be considerable investor joy at this prospect has been barely tempered by the shape of the proposed capital raising. Herschel Asset Management chairman and founder Saxon Nicholls, who owns 4.8% of GNS ordinary shares and 9% of its hybrids, described the capital raising proposal as a “change of control” transaction at an “extraordinarily cheap” price.

  37. Russell

    February 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Re #6
    And has he made any money from Sino Forests, Ami?

    Re #11
    Lol.

  38. Russell

    February 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Re #4
    Many mistakes in your little rant, Ami.

    1. What don’t you understand about Gunns’ debt?

    The $300million extended debt facility is just a portion of their debt that Gunns had to pay to the ANZ by the end of January 2012. There’s still another $300-400million on top of that and there is no definite sale of assets, which were also meant to be completed by now, either, so Gunns is just as far (if not further) from debt-free as it was yesterday.

    2. No, there’s a bit of dirt being pushed around but no pulp mill being built. And the proposed pulp mill is at Longreach, not BELL BAY.

    3. Name the jobs, but please don’t quote Gunns, Lennon or any member of the Tasmanian Government as your source.

    4. Sky-rocketing? 5 cents! Wow! Only another $1 or so per share to get back up to where John Gay sold his lot, not mentioning any up-coming insider trading case plus all the other litigations and class actions.

    5. Here’s a more informative share-price graph you might appreciate, Ami. http://hfgapps.hubb.com/asxtools/Charts.aspx?asxCode=GNS&compare=comp_index&indicies=0&pma1=0&pma2=0&volumeInd=9&vma=0&TimeFrame=M3

    Doesn’t look like such a goldrush after all, does it?

    I think the punters, especially the shareholders, have lost all faith in this company and its announcements after the last AGM. I doubt if they are going to throw more money into the pit of no return. The only movement you’re seeing are the institutional speculators feeding off the corpse, getting every drop of blood they can out of it.

    A piddly $150million ‘proposal’ from one of the richest men in Asia doesn’t sound exactly full of hope and promise, does it? More like a cheap takeover bid of the whole company to get rid of the competition (you know, just how Gunns used to buy up mills only to close them down – jobs, eh?) and a later asset fire-sale.

    Thanks for the amusing post though, Ami.

  39. David

    February 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Comment 4 – so what that “Chandler\‘s statements, they are 100% behind the BELL BAY pulp mill. “.

    Gunns were 100% behind the Pulp Mill and it STILL hasn’t been built in 7 years when Gunns were MUCH more powerful than they are now.

    You know full well in your heart of hearts that the pulp mill will never be built. And no, I dont count moving bits of dirt around as being “built”.

    So a “debt free Gunns” will leave it a shady of its former self. What then? How do they get their hands on $2billion when they have next to no assets (but debt free). I can start a company tomorrow that is debt free but how much luck would I have getting $2billion ??

    This is an act of desperation. You watch this space …. 🙂

  40. Greg

    February 7, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Graham Bush, I would say that now would be a good time to dump shares while they are up and get out while you can 🙂

  41. Ron

    February 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    haha, thats some fine trollin’ you got going there Ami on 08/02/12 at 10:13 AM

    Rock on!

  42. john hayward

    February 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    As a would- be saviour of some hard-core corporate sinners, Chandler is making Hercules’ tasks look wimpish.

    To proceed with the mill, he needs to secure FSC certification for Gunns, despite the manifold irregularities of both the company’s governance and the pulp mill approval process, as well as his (association with) a Sino Forestry company currently facing what sounds like very serious fraud charges. Add to those the financial negatives of trying to compete with South American pulpwood growers.

    John Hayward

  43. Karl Stevens

    February 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    This guy is providing less than half of Gunns operating loss last year and one sixteenth of the cost of a pulp mill. I recon let then waste their money on employing Tasmanians and just concentrate on punishing the organisations that provided Gunns with the critical bridging finance last August. Thats a lot easier because its the unstable Labor-Green Coalition and their ENGO henchmen. Once they have been put in their place we can re-arrange the Liberals as well.

  44. Bob McMahon

    February 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Speculation is rife. Here’s my contribution to the stream.

    Does anyone think Richard Chandler, comfortably ensconced in Singapore, approached Gunns, as we are led to believe?

    Does anyone think Richard Chandler, positively oozing money and business acumen, looked around the world and saw Gunns as a great company poised on the brink of unimaginable wealth once they get their pulp mill built and producing the world’s most expensive pulp in an over supplied and under priced market?

    Does anyone think that maybe Ben Gray, who is probably fellow antipodean Richard’s next door neighbour in Singapore and squash partner whispered in his ear … Macquarie is in on it. Money to be made. Leave the details to dad, his ancient cronies and me?

    Opponents of the pulp mill should not get too depressed. Supporters of the pulp mill can continue to go completely off their delusional rockers.

  45. Valleywatcher

    February 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Beware of being so cock-a-hoop, Ami. This simply buys Gunns about three months’ grace with their woeful debt-ridden situation – the ANZ bank might be a little happier. This is nothing to do with any mythical pulp mill. Chandler may be quite interested in Gunns’ plantation estate for other reasons.
    Oh, by the way, last time I looked, there was no pulp mill site being prepared anywhere near Bell Bay…….there has been, however, some generic industrial site clearing at Longreach, some seven kilometres south-east of Bell Bay – could this possibly be what you are referring to? Please be accurate!
    There would be around 200 (imported) jobs in said mythical pulp mill. Mythical construction force, similarly, would have to be imported. So much for local jobs!

  46. Dimity

    February 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Goodness … at last a little stability for Tasmania, for our communities, families and our economy in general.

    For goodness sake now all you anti gunns brigade, get over it, work with it and lets see if we can actually work together to get a great outcome for northern Tasmania’s jobless.

    I only found out a couple of days ago ANOTHER of my daughters friends father has been forced away from their family to work in QLD as his forestry job was axed. 27 years he worked in Tasmania in this job and now he has to leave his kids and wife .. this is why we need some industry in our state.

    Why can’t we have a little trust in the system … yes yes I know its been flawed in the past but now all eyes are on them I can’t see anything but good coming from this mill going ahead for the Tamar valley.

    For those knockers … once this thing is up and going … ask around … find out if the local pub has picked up, if the takeaway on the corner is now not having to close, if the schools destined for closure are still closing as people move back to our state knowing that we have a government (both major parties but Labor have done their dash with the greens so I don’t really truely count them) that will actually support the people of Tasmania who are of WORKING age and their families. Once all the retired guys with there self funded schemes all benifiting the mainland and overseas are gone … there still needs to be someone here …

    I now await the onslaught … 🙂

  47. Tim Thorne

    February 7, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Ami (#4), $300 million in asset sales? At whose valuation? Perhaps Gunns should be a little more realistic.

    Will Mr Chandler insist on a totally chlorine free mill, built where there’s no inversion layer and with all logs brought in by rail? Will he persuade them not to use the West Tamar’s precious drinking water? Will he insist that no more Tasmanian land be taken up with nitens plantations, and no native forest used for chipping either?

    And then will the mill stack up economically against its opposition in cheap labour, cheap transport, environmentally permissive countries?

  48. TH

    February 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    CHECKMATE !

    now all the haters have a new entity to demonize .

    It will not be long before the corruption cries appear .

    If only they had a clue

  49. Easter Bunny

    February 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    At 12.5c/share Gunns has a value of 106 million. Chandler is investing 150 million for 39% of the company. Presumably most of this 150 million is in the form of bonds rather than shares. Lets assume 40 million for shares and 110 million for bonds. Bonds are debt to the company in return for immediate capital. Not only that, but bondholders get paid before shareholders if the company folds, as do other creditors.

    I’d say that Gunns has sold 39% of the company in return for refinancing part of their bank debt. Clearly, this deal could not have been done without the approval of existing creditors. And why wouldn’t they approve it – between 150 and 280 million reasons (depending on how successful Gunns’ rights issue is).

    Lets see if existing shareholders feel like tipping in more funds to the amazing corporate survival of Gunns. It can be assumed that Chandler is not stupid, so it is likely that the deal is better for him than the company. What will be interesting is the split between shares and bonds, and the bond conditions. In the long term, he either gets a share in a pulp mill (which still has to be financed of course), or a large part of Tasmania’s plantation forestry resources if Gunns eventually fails.

  50. Tony Swanson

    February 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Volume in GNS running around 66 million shares. Wonder whether Chandler has just unloaded for a tidy profit? A lot of shares bought this morning at 25c, now sitting at 18.5c. Shrewd investors buy on the basis of facts, profits and genuine progress, this buying seems based on hope alone,

  51. Ami

    February 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Before you falsley accuse someone … it might be worthwhile to do a basic google search.

    Chandler bought into Sino Forests AFTER the fraud allegations. ie, the stock was cheap and he saw an opportunity to make some money from a business with good underlying fundamentals.

    Since then he has been pushing hard for better corporate governance there.

    [sentence deleted]

    See story here:
    http://business.financialpost.com/2011/09/08/sino’s-extended-halt-spurs-debate/

    Editor’s note: The comment has been edited to meet the TT code of conduct http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php/pages/legalbits — see the latter half of point 2. Also, please note point 5 — we have published an edited version of your comment on this occasion but please, in future only use one persona.

  52. Graham Bush

    February 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Is now a good time to buy Gunns shares to make a quick dollar? Seems as though they haven’t had quite so much positive news for many months.

    Can the TCT action knock the whole project on the head?

  53. Ami

    February 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    re comment #1.

    Did you even read the statement from Gunns? $280 million might not cover the debt, but the $300 odd million in asset sales will.

    So a debt-free Gunns. Sort of knocks out the ridiculous consipiracy theorists.

    And from Chandler\’s statements, they are 100% behind the BELL BAY pulp mill. So no joy to (those) who thought it was going to be shelved, or moved to Hampshire.

    And comment #2 – maybe you haven\’t looked up the highway recently but there\’s a great big pulp mill already being built. Looks like you lost, and Gunns won.

    Hooray for Tassie jobs, I say.

    Also – isn\’t it interesting that when the Gunns share price was dropping, the trolls on this website always posted a link to the Gunns share price?

    Strange that it isn\’t happening today when the share price is rocketing up.

    Ed: An oversight. It will be posted:
    http://www.asx.net.au/asx/research/companyInfo.do?by=asxCode&asxCode=GNS

  54. John Biggs

    February 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    “The Richard Chandler Corporation’s mission, Building Prosperity for Tomorrow’s World, adopts a holistic approach to building sustainable prosperity through investments in financial and social enterprises.”

    Well that rules them out of the pulp mill.

  55. Michael Bassett

    February 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to the pulp mill! We don’t want the Tamar Valley pulp mill.

  56. Russell

    February 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    $280million won’t even pay the just-extended debt. Richard Chandler and Alan Kelly must be gullible

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