07/09/2004 - 22:00

Buckeridge feedback

07/09/2004 - 22:00


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We've received a fair bit of feedback in recent weeks about building magnate Len Buckeridge’s interview at our Success & Leadership forum.

We've received a fair bit of feedback in recent weeks about building magnate Len Buckeridge’s interview at our Success & Leadership forum.

One of the key questions that has come up is exactly what he said when quizzed about a succession plan for his business.

Len admits he’s getting on, so it’s a serious issue. On the spot he said he had no plans, but if you read his full answer from a transcript we have made you could say there is a plan there.

This is Len’s response to my question about whether he was enacting any sort of succession plan: “No, I haven’t,” he said.

“Housing is a bit of a play thing for me.

“Obviously I should sell out of it because there is a dangerous situation in housing – 15 builders, of which we are three, build 60 per cent of all the houses in WA.

“The red tape has screwed builders, small builders, out of business. You might recall back years ago, there was thousands of small scale Italian builders. Most of them have gone, it was all just too hard.

“I would like to spread the pile again. Go and foster some of them and say ‘righto mate, you take that company, you go and build and compete against that guy’. I think it is unhealthy to only have 15 builders that in effect control the industry.

“Even more unhealthy, is having one that controls 30, you know, it’s not good.

“So I could probably sell out of that reasonably quickly.

“In the contracting business turnover is $280 million, no its more than that, I don’t know what it is – I see that as some solution to what’s a huge problem.

“If you look at our mining world, for I think it’s $9 billion of oil and gas income, $5 billion of iron ore and it’s not labour intensive, it’s hugely capital intensive.

“But that will provide the capital to feed the 151,000 bureaucrats we’ve got to feed, those buggers that get in your way.

“But I don’t think the kids are interested. I love the north, so it suits me to do it there. But I suppose I will sell that.”

That would leave BGC as a building materials group, with or without a brickworks. Len also reaffirmed his view that a stock market listing was not on his agenda.

“I’m quoted on having said that being on the stock market is difficult,” he said.

“One, I’d have to make a speech at the annual meeting, and the second thing is I would have to buy a suit.

“So, no, I don’t think so.

“I would hate to be responsible for some little old lady who’d invested her deceased husband’s pension money, and then I did something that didn’t make money.

“So I’m answerable to no one and it suits me that way.”

Brokers farmin’   for business’

Hasn't the rain been great? If you are a farmer in Western Australia you’d certainly answer ‘yes’.

While I gather the crops aren’t going to live up to last year’s record, I have to say that I am hearing plenty of positive news from the rural community.

I managed to get to the Dowerin Field Days a fortnight ago and, while the crowds were apparently a little down on last year, there were plenty of smiles to be seen even with the driving rain.

A true test of how good things are was the number of stockbrokers crawling all over the place. I couldn’t stop running into them and they represented most of the major players – almost as many as the private school booths there to promote their city education solutions.


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