Forrest hits at Anglo’s tactics
□ By Michael Weir
ANACONDA Nickel has accused major shareholder Anglo American of dirty
tactics in the way it has lobbied minority shareholders ahead of this month's
meeting to axe chief executive Andrew Forrest.
Mr Forrest said yesterday Anglo was behind a series of meetings being
held across Australia where shareholders were paid $50 to attend.
At the meetings shareholders were canvassed on their views on
Anaconda and were only told at the end that Anglo was behind the meeting.
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
WEDNESDAY MAY 2 2001
But Anglo said its actions were above board
and the shareholder focus groups were
"Focus group research is commonly and
routinely undertaken by a wide range of
organisations, including governments,
business, politicians and trade unions to give
them an understanding of the attitudes or
opinions of various stakeholder groups that are
important to them," investor relations senior
vice-president Anne Dunn said.
"Participants are randomly selected from the
shareholder register and those who attend are
reimbursed a small amount of $50 to cover
travel costs associated with attending the
meetings. This is a standard fee used by
market research firms around the country."
Anglo has started a series of briefings in
Australia this week with market analysts, private
client advisers and politicians.
Next week the 25.4 per cent shareholder plans
to give presentations to other major
shareholders Glencore International (21 per
cent), Sherritt International (9 per cent) and
Marc Rich (4 per cent).
A spokeswoman for the Australian Securities &
Investments Commission said no official
complaints had been received.
"ASIC always encourages shareholder
democracy and has no problems with one
shareholder talking to another," she said.
"However, if they engage in misleading or
deceptive conduct it could be a breach of the
An Anaconda shareholder who attended a
meeting in Perth on Monday night told The West
Australian she had been contacted by
telephone, but had been put under no pressure
The 1 1/2-hour interview was recorded and
she was told at the end that the research had
been for Anglo.
"I have never seen anything like it," Mr Forrest
said yesterday. "To me it seems dreadfully
cloak and dagger.
"This is something which shows to me how
desperate Anglo is to get control of this
company. They really do want to remove the
Mr Forrest has previously accused Anglo of
using underhand tactics to thwart a recent
capital raising attempt.
"Credit Suisse First Boston were contacting
Australian institutions while we were raising
capital, casting great doubts that both Anglo
and Glencore were not going to participate in
the placement, which is something we at
Anaconda did not know and they did not
disclose they were acting for Anglo at the time,"
He also said Anglo, with its intimate technical
knowledge of the Murrin Murrin nickel project,
had timed its attack just when the performance
of the plant was starting to turn around. -- © The West Australian, Michael Weir, Wednesday May 2 2001, p. 47
© 2001 West Australian Newspapers Limited
All Rights Reserved.
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A really good lead-in to democratic campaigning against monopoly globa