While renegade shareholder-come-wunderkind Nick Bolton attempts to devise a way to retain his $4.5 million payment from Leighton, another player has entered into the BrisConnections fray. It has emerged that the Julie Anne Barrow Charitable Trust has amassed a sizable stake in BrisConnections, believed to be almost 5% of the units.

According to a press release issued by David Barrow, trustee of the Charity, the Julie Anne Barrow Charitable Trust:

A discretionary investment trust, approved on 30 June 2008 by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a Prescribed Private Fund (PPF) and registered as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), entitled to receive income tax deductible gifts from donors in the form of cash and transfers of shares, which are then invested and managed for solely charitable purposes.

The charitable purposes to which The Julie Anne Barrow Charitable Trust places it efforts include the relief of poverty, the relief of the needs of the aged, the relief of sickness or distress, the advancement of religion, the advancement of education, other purposes beneficial to the community, and the provision of child care services on a non-profit basis.

Crikey spoke with Barrow, who confirmed that the Trust was seeking further BrisConnections units by way of off-market transfers (in the form of a gift). Barrow claimed that the Trust was of the opinion that the fundamentals of BrisConnections have been undervalued and that “many things can happen between now and 29 April [when unit-holders are required to contribute a further $1.00 call].”

Barrow also (perhaps optimistically) noted that the Trust is able to trade out of its sizable position prior to the call becoming payable.

Barrow told Crikey that he had been in contact with other large BrisConnections unit-holders, including Nick Bolton and Jim Byrnes. Barrow noted that Byrnes, who previously acted as an advisor to Alan Bond, was very “knowledgeable on financial issues.”

Based on its current holding, if a deal is not concluded prior to 29 April between unit-holders and underwriters or BrisConnections, the Trust will be liable to pay approximately cll of almost $20 million on its units. Barrow noted that at the current time, the Trust did not have $20 million in cash available to fund the potential call. In the event that the Trust did not make the required payment, it would make for the somewhat unusual situation of an underwriter taking legal action against a charitable organization to recover monies owed on an infrastructure project.

Barrow was unable to confirm the quantum of donations which have been made by the charitable trust in recent times.

Peter Fray

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