Queensland business briefs: Your daily Sunshine State update

QAL, Aeris Resources, Alligator Energy, Reef Casino Trust,QPM, People Infrastructure, Sunland, Origin, Sportshero, Harris Farm Markets, Minotaur, Larvotto, Eagers, Flight Centre, Over the Wire Holdings and Cosol.

Dec 21, 2020, updated Jan 11, 2021
The latest in Queensland business news.  (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

The latest in Queensland business news. (Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Success for State Gas

State Gas is reporting success at its Nyanda coal seam gas drilling campaign.

The company’s shares jumped to a high of 60c recently but have settled back to 56 cents.

It said all three wells at Nyanda had intersected good quality coals with seams of similar thickness and depth confirming the widespread presence of gas-bearing coals.

The next step will be production testing of two of the wells.

AMA settles deal

Car parts company AMA Group has settled the sale of its ACAD business to GUD Holdings, a deal that would earn the company $70 million which it said it would use to retire debt.

It said it was meeting the commitment of its banking covenants.

AMA said the shift from public to private transport was benefitting the company and it expected operational margins to be within the targeted range of 9 to 10 per cent for the 2021-22 year.

The company’s shares have been trading around the 80 cent mark.


Jumbo loses director

Jumbo Interactive director and company secretary Bill Lyne will stand down from the board at the end of March. Lyne has already resigned from his company secretary role and has been replaced by Graeme Beckett.

Lyne had been in the job since 2007. Beckett is a nominee of Company Matters.

Test kit “on track”

Anteotech said it was on track to deliver its COVID-19 rapid test kit.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Spanish company Operon for the manufacturing of the kit in Europe.

It has also signed a separate agreement with an unnamed Spanish company for the manufacturing of the plastic cassettes that would hold the test strips.

Clinical studies for regulatory approval have begun with the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory.

Big fine for QAL

Queensland Alumina Limited was fined $500,000, one of the largest penalties, for an environmental breach in Gladstone, after pleading guilty to one offence of unlawfully causing serious environmental harm, and one offence of contravening a condition of an Environmental Authority.

QAL operates an alumina refinery in Parsons Point, Gladstone, and on September 8, 2018, an issue with an overpressure safety system caused the release of up to three tonnes of alkaline bauxite slurry (containing contaminants, including sodium hydroxide) to the atmosphere.

The plume travelled about 11km south and caused serious environmental harm, including damage to vehicles and office buildings in the South Trees Industrial Estate.

QAL was ordered to pay $1500 in legal costs and $4488 in investigation costs. The court also ordered that $100,000 of the fine be paid as a Public Benefit Order for the purpose of a project aimed at enhancing the environment in the Gladstone region.

Aeris drilling success

Aeris Resources has encountered significant copper intersections at its Constellation project in NSW.

Chairman Andre Labuschagne said the results were exciting during a challenging year.

One drill hole intersected 19.95m grading at 2.41 per cent copper, 0.64 grams per tonne of gold and 4.6 grams per tonne of silver.

Capital for Alligator

Brisbane-based uranium company Alligator Energy has raised $1.6 million through a placement to investors.

The capital raising would be used to fund the next steps of the Saphire uranium project.

The shares were issued at .007 cents each and had a one-for-two, 18-month option attached exercised at .015 each.

Alligator chief executive Greg Hall said the funds would allow a rapid start to new work targeting a resource upgrade and expansion.

“We believe this will greatly enhance the value of Saphire at a time of an improving uranium market and increased interest in uranium equities, creating an opportunity for a potential timely development of the project when market factors align,” he said.


Casino stocks surge

Reef Casino Trust units jumped 10 per cent this afternoon following the company’s decision on dividend distribution.

RCT withheld its dividend in the first half because of the COVID-19 outbreak but trust’s constitution requires that at least half of the net income be distributed. The trust also has a policy of distributing 100 per cent of the full year profit before impairment of property, plant and equipment.

The distribution for the second half will be 8.54 cents per unit, totalling $4.25 million.

RCT expects its distributable profit for the second half would be about $8.5 million, but its full year result was likely to be a loss of about $66,000.

QPM reaches milestone

Queensland Pacific Metals has produced its first batch of nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate from its pilot plant using New Caledonian ore.

The company said it was a significant milestone in demonstrating its process to potential buyers from its planned Townsville project.

Chief executive Stephen Growcott said it was a satisfying achievement but there was still a lot of work to be done.

People snares tech recruiter

Brisbane-based People Infrastructure has bought eCareer Employment Services and Illuminate Search and Consulting for $5.1 million.

The business is a technology staffing firm operating in NSW and Victoria.

It services the NSW Government and the banking, finance and insurance sectors.

It’s expected the business would generate $1.3 million in underlying earnings for the first 12 months and will be earnings accretive.

Sunland sells Coolangatta land

Sunland Group has sold an undeveloped block at Coolangatta for $12.8 million to parties associated with Joe Adsett Architects.

The block is next to the Greenmount Beach Hotel, which Sunland owns.

The buyer has handed over a deposit of $500,000 and the balance will be paid when the contract becomes unconditional.

The deal is conditional on certain access rights and easements for the property.

Sunland announced earlier this year it would liquidate all its assets and return funds to shareholders.


Former Treasurer gets ASFA role

Former Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser has been appointed to the board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.

Fraser, who is chair of Sunsuper was appointed along with Frank Lombardo, chief operating officer of IOOF.

These appointments follow the passing of a special resolution allowing two additional directors be appointed to the ASFA board for an interim period until the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

“I am pleased to have Andrew and Frank join the ASFA Board as we work to address the challenges presented by COVID-19, the changing legislative and regulatory landscape, and the increasing importance of securing sustainable retirement outcomes for Australians,” said ASFA chair Dr Michael Easson.

Origin picks up McCormack

Origin has appointed Central Petroleum chair Mick McCormack to its board as an independent director.

McCormack was previously chief executive of APA Group and before that worked in several executive roles in AGL.

Origin chair Scott Perkins said McCormack’s extensive knowledge of the energy and infrastructure sectors, as well as his deep operational and strategic experience, would strengthen the board.

Sportshero gets surge of users

Twin Waters-based Sportshero has signed a 12 month deal with Indonesia’s MolaTV to generate its first commercial revenues.

SportsHero is a sports app and social platform in which users can made predictions on games.

Under the deal, MolaTV would become the lead sponsor for this season’s Premier League.

It has 1.8 million users in Indonesia.


Harris Farm Markets kicks off

Harris Farm Markets have started operations back in Brisbane at the site where the business began 30 years ago.

Chief executive Tristan and Luke Harris marked the moment by pouring Maleny Dairies milk direct from the tap.

“Having Maleny Dairies milk on tap is an Australian first, and reflects Harris Farm’s commitment championing to local producers.

The company started in Clayfield before selling the site to Carlo and Susan Lorenti.

“It’s a full-circle story and we are thrilled that Carlo and Susan are staying on as our managers at Clayfield, along with as many staff as possible,” Tristan Harris said.

Clayfield is the first of two Brisbane stores to open, with the flagship store at West Village in West End planned for May next year.  The two Brisbane stores will offer produce from more than 300 Queensland growers and will employ more than 200 staff

Minotaur sells Mount Isa tenements

Minotaur and the privately owned Larvotto have signed term sheets for the full ownership of the Highlands copper-gold tenements near Mt Isa.

Minotaur regards the project as low priority and non-core.

Larvotto intends to include the project in its initial public offering which is scheduled for early 2021.

University grabs Virgin CFO

QUT has appointed former Virgin Australia chief financial officer Geoff Smith to its executive team.

QUT vice-chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil said Smith was well-equipped to steer the university’s financial management as QUT positioned itself for a post-COVID-19 future.

“During meetings with senior staff and Council members he demonstrated the ability to communicate in a style that will suit QUT very well,” Sheil said.

“It’s these traits, along with his keen business sense and ability to work collegiately with a wide range of stakeholders, that make him eminently suitable for the position.

Smith will take up the position as QUT Chief Financial Officer in early February.


Eagers sells off Daimler Trucks

Brisbane-based Eagers Automotive has sold off its Daimler Trucks and property for a $32 million to $36 million pre-tax profit.

The business went to US-based Velocity Vehicle Group, a privately-owned operator of commercial truck dealerships.

Eagers will also sell to VVG its property at Milperra, Sydney, where its Stillwell Trucks business is based.

Eagers said it would continue to own and operate the Webster Truck and Isuzu Truck businesses.

The decision to sell was made as part of its business simplication process.

Index shifts announced

Brisbane tech company Over the Wire Holdings has moved into the ASX all technology index after S&P Dow Jones announced the rebalancing of its indexes.

The rebalance will also see Afterpay move into the ASX20 index with the removal of IAG.

Flight Centre has been removed from the ASX100. Kogan and Reece will move into the ASX200 with the removal of Avita, Cooper Energy and Western Areas Ltd.

Cosol appoints new company secretary

Cosol has appointed Lisa Wynne as company secretary after the resignation of Ben Secrett.

Cosol said Wynne had significant experience in the role with ASX and TSX listed companies and had also worked as a chief executive office.


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