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Feb 14, 2008

Labor Party losing plenty as Allco teeters

The dark clouds hanging over the indefinitely suspended Allco Finance Group are concerning plenty of financial players, but the beancounters inside the Queensland Labor Party must also be disappointed, writes Stephen Mayne.


The dark clouds hanging over the indefinitely suspended Allco Finance Group are concerning plenty of financial players, but the bean counters inside the Queensland Labor Party must also be disappointed.

The party’s circa $100 million investment fund, Labor Holdings, had a holding worth almost $900,000 when the stock peaked at more than $13 during the Qantas takeover bid. Alas, Allco last traded at $3.05 and has been suspended all week whilst corporate undertakers Korda Mentha and Ferrier Hodgson advise on a fire-sale or rescue, depending on which press report you believe.

The AEC financial return lodged by Labor Holdings for 2006-07 reveals that Allco delivered cash dividends of $25,863.20 to the party.

While our political parties quite outrageously don’t have to release balance sheets or specific details of investments, sources say that the figure disclosed represents the dividends paid in that financial year.

When you factor in the 21c Allco dividend paid on September 13, 2006, the 2-for-19 entitlement offer at $8 in December 2006, plus the 20c dividend paid on March 7, 2007, it would appear that Labor holds about 66,000 Allco shares.

So, how long has Labor held the stake? Allco Finance Group, and its predecessor body Record Investments, delivered the following dividends to Labor Holdings after first listing on February 28, 2001:

2001-02: $1,837 (3.95c actually distributed)

2002-03: $5,400 (13.5c in dividends declared for the year)

2003-04: $8,200 (18.3c in dividends declared)

2004-05: $13,620 (30.6c in dividends declared)

2005-06: $24,260 (41c in dividends declared)

2006-07: $25,863 (44c in dividends declared)

These figures would suggest that Labor Holdings probably bought 46,520 shares in the original 2001 Record Investments float at $1.90 a share – because that is how many shares would generate a dividend return of $1,837 in 2001-02 based on the 3.95c that was paid out over that 12 month period.

Sources have confirmed that Labor is losing plenty on Allco, but it dodged a bullet on MFS by dumping its shareholding, which delivered dividends of $10,700 in 2006-07, before it went into a tailspin. Maybe the Bruvvas got out when Andrew Peacock was appointed chairman in May 2007.

As if Allco doesn’t have enough problems, it has just copped a $US1 million s-xual harassment claim against the head of its New York office, Stephen Daniel.

When groping claims make The New York Post, your luck really has run out.

Meanwhile, a deafening silence continues to emanate from the Allco camp as it remains suspended ahead of tomorrow’s half year profit result. I reckon they’re probably gone.

A “more Aussies on the board” Rio Tinto board tilt is unveiled on this Mayne Report video.


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