Australia doesnâ€™t produce too many world leaders, but ABC Learning was one of them. Pugnacious Brisbane Rich Lister Eddie Groves and his wife created the worldâ€™s biggest child care company, backed by the Singapore Government as the largest shareholder and complete with former Childrenâ€™s Minister Larry Anthony on the board.
Alas, Australiaâ€™s most subsidised company might need a spot more assistance from Canberra. Its shares have crashed more than 60% this morning, despite an â€śurgentâ€ť ASX announcementÂ released at 11.30am claiming that everything is fine and dandy.
It seems something was not quite right in the claimed $37 million half year â€śprofitâ€ť released after the market had closed yesterday. Itâ€™s called debt â€“ too much of it — and the familiar folly of paying too much for assets. ABC Learning now joins the likes of Centro, MFS, Allco and Macquarie Fortress on the critical list. Whoâ€™ll be next?
Having written out a cheque for $403 million last June to buy 12% of ABC Learning at $7.30, Lee Kwan Yew and his children who run Singapore Inc might need to get out the cane for young Eddie with the stock hitting a low of $1.15 this morning. Ouch.