A security contractor (obviously playing with one of the big yellow machines) jumped off one of them and hit his head. The SES were flagged down to help until an ambulance arrived. Gunns say there has been no damage to the machine.
GARRY’S AFTERNOON UPDATE:
After the ambulance left, a Workplace Standards vehicle arrived and entered the site. It was there for some time, leaving at around 11:00am. During that time a number of vehicles entered and left the site. One vehicle which left, which must have come in earlier than me, had ‘Forze Explosive Services’ on its door. So far I know nothing more than what I’ve put in the two bulletins.
I’m now out of battery power, anyone, please update me by ringing: 0418 139 231
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Things - I don’t know what - have been happening. State emergency Service, police rescue, ambulance flashing lights, police escort all going in at about 8:30am
JOHN HAWKINS visits Garry Stannus in his Bentley, which is ... ... ‘not dark green, but blue’ - and also against the pulp mill’.
• AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW - Wednesday 7 September 2011
By Carrie LaFrenz
Gunns’ suspicion fuels supposition
The vacuum that has developed around Gunns Ltd’s future is being filled by wild speculation that swings between the timber company operating an informal administration and being on the brink of signing a partner for its long-hoped for pulp mill.
The length of Gunns’ self-imposed suspension from trading has drawn unflattering comparison with childcare operator ABC Learning Centres - which was suspended in August 2008 pending the release of an announcement regarding financial results but the company never re-emerged because it was forced into the hands of corporate undertakers.
It has been 5 weeks since Gunns first sought a trading halt, ostensibly because it was negotiating a compensation package with the Tasmanian Government to exit native forest logging contracts in the State.
Expectations for the cheque it would receive have been slashed from about $200 million 12 months ago to about $35 million. Any payments will likely take into account debts of $27 million the State-owned Forest Tasmania claims it is owed by Gunns, but which are being contested.
Gunns formally rejected an initial offer on Monday night but is back with the Government trying to hammer out a key part of the forestry agreement .Gunns must exit native forest logging and Forestry Tasmania must extinguish those contracts; so they can’t be re-issued to anyone else. Otherwise, all bets are off.
Apparently, the parties aren’t too far apart, but the gap was enough to make Gunns think it not worth holding out.
Conspiracy theorists are seeing the hands of Gunns’ banker, ANZ Banking Group in everything the company does at the moment, particularly as it approaches a January 2012 deadline to re-finance its $350 million core lending facility.
Gunns’ boss, Greg L’Estrange has been furiously selling down assets, and in the case of the Triabunna woodchip mill and port that is central to the native forest industry in Tasmania; Gunns accepted a price that was half of what he originally wanted and $6 million lower than another offer that had seemed a ‘done deal’ until payment delayed provided an opening for environmentalists Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood to trump the offer with less, but certain cash.
The more excitable corners of the market see a managed wind-down of the company ahead of formal administration, although sources close to the company say that is not the case.
However, one could be forgiven for wondering what is going on when Gunns has sold so many of its core assets on a big bet that it can get the pulp mill funded and built. Gone are Gunns’ Launceston headquarters and plantations in the Green Triangle region of South Australia. The company also wrote down the remaining assets in the annual financial results last month [25 August 2011].
The more positive view is that Gunns is cashing up and clearing up its balance sheet in readiness to land a partner for the Bell Bay pulp mill that it has been attempting to build for the better part of a decade.
While squeezing more money from the government can be seen as a win, Gunns is still on thin ice.
Its net debt fell from $629 million in the fiscal 20011 from $659 million the year before, but 95%, or $593 million of the debt is current.
Gearing is very high compared to its operating cash flow and assets sales are therefore needed. It’s a tricky process since the saleable assets usually generate cash flow that is needed to pay off the debts.
Gunns’ MIS loan book is on the market, but its sale would deny the management fees and interest income on its loan book. The interest rate on the loan book is higher than the interest rate on the main facility to ANZ. Which means Gunns’ net interest expense goes up if the loan book is sold.
Operating cash flow fell from $62 million to $37 million in 2011, painting a dire picture for the key operating woodchip business. Woodchip volumes fell sharply in the second half of 2011 and the revenue was down 25 % year on year.
Gunns will have some explaining to do when it comes out of suspension.
And, From AFR daily ‘Company briefs’:
PUBLISHED : 09/09/11 00:08:55
Gunns has submitted reasons why it believes it has met its substantial work requirements for state pulp mill permits to the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA director Alex Schaap expects to make a decision next week.
• Ourobouros, earlier on Tasmanian Times: ... As a futile debate about compensation for Gunns dominates valuable column inches in our newspapers, there’s a complete information vacuum as to why Gunns, or in fact anybody, should be compensated by the taxpayer. There may well be sound legal argument as to why compensation is payable, but to date, that information has scarcely even been sought, let alone provided.
And at the same time Giddings is spruiking her new economic development plan, she’s turning her blind eye to illegal earthworks at what once constituted a nature reserve.
If she’s been given advice from her army of minders inside DPAC and Treasury that the $200 million spent on paperwork represents substantial commencement of a pulp mill, then let’s hope those advisors are the first shunted off to Centrelink when a new Government is installed.
Presumably, although one is starting to doubt, somebody in Government can read. Perhaps they should start with Gunns’ 2008/09 Annual Report. Two years ago, shortly after Parliament rammed through legislation extending construction permits, Gunns told both shareholders and the ASX that $150 million had already been spent on the project, and a final joint-venture partner was soon to be announced.
Even a year ago, Gunns claimed to have spent $205 million on the project. Now, the figure is the same. Clearly, the project hasn’t budged in a year, and one suspects most of the $50 million spent over two years has been on public relations exercises of dubious validity ... MORE, Into the Abyss, HERE