Forced exit of CuDeco founder gives in­vestors pain

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - GLEN NOR­RIS

SHARES of strug­gling min­ing com­pany CuDeco plum­meted 41 per cent yesterday on fears it faced a “fund­ing black hole” af­ter Chi­nese in­vestors forced the exit of founder Wayne McCrae.

Mr McCrae re­signed as chair­man, di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Gold Coast- based com­pany on Fri­day af­ter los­ing the confi- dence of Chi­nese share­hold­ers, who to­gether hold a 33.7 per cent stake in CuDeco.

There is grow­ing con­cern the com­pany’s $ 200 mil­lion Rock­lands cop­per plant near Clon­curry could re­main un­com­pleted if fund­ing dries up.

CuDeco shares, which have been in a trad­ing halt this month while the com­pany con­sid­ered new fund­ing op­tions, yesterday slumped 70.5¢ to a nine- year- low of 99.5¢. Its mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion is now a mere $ 276 mil­lion from $ 1 bil­lion dur­ing its hey­day.

Newly ap­pointed man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Hutchi­son said the Rock­land’s pro­ject was ex­pected to be prof­itable at cur­rent cop­per prices, helped by the lower Aus­tralian dol­lar. Cop­per prices have sunk 30 per cent in the past year.

“CuDeco is con­fi­dent of ob­tain­ing the nec­es­sary cap­i­tal to bring Rock­lands into pro­duc­tion, based on the sup­port of our ma­jor share­hold­ers and Min­sheng Bank,” Mr Hutchi­son said.

IG mar­ket strate­gist Evan Lu­cas said share­hold­ers were in a “world of pain” with un­cer­tain­ties about how the Rock­lands projects will be com­pleted. The com­pany re­ported a $ 13.7 mil­lion loss for the last six months of 2014.

Wayne McCrae.

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