Coalworks pans Macquarie move

COALWORKS has opposed a move by shareholder Macquarie Bank to oust the coal exploration company’s non-executive chairman and chief executive officer.
Coalworks pans Macquarie move Coalworks pans Macquarie move Coalworks pans Macquarie move Coalworks pans Macquarie move Coalworks pans Macquarie move

Coalworks' projects in NSW.

Lauren Barrett

On Wednesday, Coalworks informed the market of Macquarie’s intentions to replace its non-executive chairman Wayne Mitchell and chief executive officer Andrew Firek with its own nominees.

Macquarie requested a shareholder meeting on the matter.

Macquarie is proposing to replace Mitchell and Firek with Anthony Ferguson and Johann Jooste-Jacobs.

Coalworks said it strongly rejected Macquarie’s proposal.

“The board of Coalworks wishes to advise that it strongly opposes the proposed resolutions, which it does not consider to be in the best interests of all shareholders,” Coalworks said in a statement.

Coalworks also drew attention to media speculation surrounding the proposal to oust Mitchell and Firek, with reports linking the move to the completion of Whitehaven’s takeover of Aston Resources and identifying Coalworks as a “bolt-on acquisition.”

Last November, a boardroom coup at Coalworks, engineered by Nathan Tinkler and Macquarie saw the ousting of two of the company’s directors.

Coalworks said it did not want to see a repeat of last year’s events.

“Coalworks considers that the proposed removal of Mr Mitchell and Dr Firek could make it easier for a potential acquirer to effectively gain control of the company without a fair offer being made to all of Coalworks’ shareholders,” the company said.

“Coalworks considers that an independently chaired board is best placed to achieve an appropriate premium for any potential change of control for all shareholders, which reflects the long term value of Coalworks to an acquirer.”

Macquarie has a 7% stake in Coalworks, making it Coalworks’ third largest shareholder.

Coalworks said it would update shareholders with regards to the proposed extraordinary general meeting.

The company is highly focused on developing its Vickery South in the New South Wales Gunnedah Basin which is scheduled to commence production in 2015.

Combined with the ongoing consolidation of the Australian coal industry, Coalworks believes it is well positioned for a significant re-rating.

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