around the traps ... with the ferret

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    Around the Traps ... with THE FERRET
    07:20, Thursday, 27 January 2005

    Sydney - Thursday - January 27: (RWE Australian Business News)
    *******************************

    BIOMETRICS (BIX) has had more board changes over the past few
    months than its shareholders have had breakfasts.

    There have been about 28 director notices in the past five
    months and the action is hotting up.

    For example, on December 1 the company advised that the
    short-term contract period of employment for chief executive Roger
    Henning had ceased.

    However, on January 18 Biometrics said it had received
    notification of a potential claim for unfair dismissal and related
    employment matters from solicitors acting for Mr Henning.

    Following Mr Henning's "cessation" Alexander Hartman was
    apppointed chief officer and executive director on December 13 (but
    "effective 30 November").

    Directors said then that they believed Mr Hartman would "bring
    a new vision and energy to the company and be the focal point and
    driving force in taking the company into a new era".

    Well, he didn't last long in the driver's seat.

    On Monday Mr Hartman stepped down in his executive capacity
    although he remains a non-executive director.

    On Tuesday, Richard Walker, who only became chairman on January
    13, replacing a Mr Croxon who had been there for all of four months,
    was appointed executive chairman.

    Meanwhile, the share price has spiralled downwards, from 14.5c
    last week to 8c on Tuesday (a 2.5c fall for the day).

    *****

    NEXUS ENERGY (NXS) has received initial results from analysis
    of core samples recovered from the Longtom-2 well.

    The results are part of a program of measurements and
    experiments to determine reservoir flow characteristics and other key
    properties.

    Nexus twice used the word "encouraging" to describe the results
    so far.

    But the shares plunged 8c to as low as 41c, before closing at
    43c.

    Seems "encouraging" did nothing for the punters.

    *****

    We're adding to our store of mining terms every day.

    ANGLO AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES (AAR) on Tuesday referred in its
    quarterly report to November drilling at its West Mandilla pit as
    having intersected "bonanza" grades - such as 5 metres at 65.31 g/t
    gold (including 1 metre at 238.57 g/t) and 2 metres at 10.77 g/t.

    Last week MOTO GOLDMINES (MTO) revealed that, in its opinion at
    least, 40 metres at 8.95 g/t and 24 metres at 7.57 g/t were
    "exceptional".

    Earlier still HIGHLANDS PACIFIC (HIG) described its 2.3m at
    1,960 g/t in Papua New Guinea as "high-grade".

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Anglo rose 0.2c to 2.2c after its latest progress report.

    *****

    What gives with the hyphens at GOLDLINK (GLI)?

    It said a "5.0-cents" dividend was paid on January 14 and
    "2.5-cents" would be paid in March.

    It also announced a 90 per cent rise in net profit for the
    December half and the shares rose 3c (sorry, 3.0-cents) to $1.08 and
    went as high as $1.14.

    *****

    Someone must have had an inkling of something going on at
    MURCHISON UNITED (MUR) on January 20 because the shares rose 1c to 7.3c
    that day.

    Sure enough, in an after-hours announcement the company said it
    planned a 58 million-share placement to sophisticated clients of
    Hartleys at 4.5c.

    It said this was a discount of 18 per cent on the 5.5c weighted
    average since December 1.

    Trading resumed in Murchison shares on Tuesday and, as usually
    happens with placement makers at discounts, the shares fell 1.1c to
    6.2c.

    *****

    While we're on the subject, a lot of companies use the phrase
    "institutions and sophisticated investors" to desribe to whom they are
    placing shares.

    Others describe them as "professional" investors.

    EASTERN STAR GAS (ESG) came up with a new one on Tuesday when
    it said it had raised $4.5 million through the placement of 18.75
    million new ordinary shares to a range of institutional and "strategic"
    investors.

    Not only do we have to grapple with the fine distinctions
    between "exceptional", "bonanza" and "high-grade" in terms of mining
    strikes, we now have to decide the slight shades of meanings we need to
    apply to "sophisticated", "professional" and "strategic" in terms of
    new shareholders.

    *****

    Our Australian of the Year, Fiona Wood, has a business side as
    well.

    She is co-founder and non-executive director of listed public
    company Clinical Cell Culture Ltd.

    C3 chairman Dalton Gooding said the company was overwhelmingly
    proud of Fiona Wood and her outstanding medical achievements.

    "On behalf of the shareholders and directors of C3, I would
    like to congratulate Fiona on this honour," Mr Gooding said.

    (Comments and complaints to [email protected] - no requests
    for advice please.)

    ENDS

    Copyright © 2005 RWE Australian Business News. All rights reserved.
 
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