HDR hardman resources limited

asic launches investigation in hdr

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    ASIC launches investigation into Hardman share trading

    28 November 2002
    This story is exclusive to ERN as of 28/11/2002 6:56:36 PM EST.

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has commenced an investigation into irregular share trading in Hardman Resources stock around the time of their $40 million share placement in late September.

    ASIC markets enforcement investigator Nigel Woodworth confirmed the securities watchdog was looking at trading in Hardman shares around the time the company was attempting the placement.

    He said the company was not being investigated, rather the trading in it by its shareholders.

    He said ASIC was concerned that the shares dropped on the back of a successful well report. There were also concerns at the differing well reports supplied from Woodside to its minority partners on the 8 October, at a crucial time in the drilling of the Chinguetti 4-4 well.

    Woodworth was seeking copies of a number of articles published on EnergyReview.net at the time, which broke the news of the placement before the company had made any ASX releases, and which also identified the differences between the Woodside and Hardman drilling reports.

    In one of those stories, it was outlined how the major underwriter of the placement at 70 cents, Macquarie Institutional, and JB Were were the major net sellers of Hardman stock that week.

    In the article on EnergyReview.net on September 26, it was noted that Macquarie was the issuer of a series of warrants which came into the money at 95c. The stock was trading at 87 cents before the market sold it down savagely.

    With three further wells left in the Mauritanian campaign, there was a strong chance that the warrants would have been exercised, which would have cost Macquarie a significant sum of money.

    Hardman Resources was not aware of the matter when contacted today.

    "As soon as our board had made the decision to make the placement, we put a trading halt on the stock," said managing director Ted Ellyard.

    Ellyard said he was most concerned that ASIC had been in contact with the media before notifying the company.

    He was especially concerned at the timing of the inquiry, which came a day before the Hardman AGM, scheduled for 9.30 at the Burswood Convention centre.

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