Companies continue to reveal exposure to Opes Collapse

03/04/2008 - 08:43

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Small companies listed on the Australian stock exchange today continued to reveal details of their exposure to the collapse of stockbroker Opes Prime, including Perth-based Blackham Resources, Hodges Resources, Catalyst Metal and Conquest Mining.

Companies continue to reveal exposure to Opes Collapse

Small companies listed on the Australian stock exchange today continued to reveal details of their exposure to the collapse of stockbroker Opes Prime, including Perth-based Blackham Resources Ltd, Hodges Resources Ltd, Catalyst Metal Ltd and Conquest Mining Ltd.

Leederville-based gold explorer Blackham Resources said today it could not give surety of the total number of securities affected by the Opes margin lending facilities.

Blackham shares were placed in a trading halt on Monday after a director and a shareholder of the company advised that some of their shareholdings were subject to equity finance contracts with Opes Prime.

The company said its best estimate was about one million shares or 3.3 per cent of issued capital.

Leederville-based, gold and nickel explorer Hodges Resources Ltd, whose shares also were placed in a trading halt on Monday, following notification from two company directors that some of their shares were affected by contracts with Opes Prime, similarly said that it was not certain how many shares were involved.

But it estimated that holdings totalling about 2.9 million shares representing 6.3 per cent of the company's stock may be linked to Opes.

West-Leederville molybdenum explorer Catalyst Metals Ltd said it estimated that about 1.6 million of its shares, or 6.9 per cent of the company, were subject to Opes Prime equity finance contracts.

Blackham, Hodges and Catalyst have today been released from the trading holts that were originally requested by the companies on Monday 31 March, 2008.

Balcatta based explorer Conquest Mining said its best estimate was that about 28.5 million shares or 10.5 per cent of the company's stock, potentially was affected.

Other Perth companies providing updates today included Advance Energy, Excalibur Mining, Global Nickel, Stonehenge Metals, Balkans Gold, Redfork Energy and Torrens Energy.

Both Advance Energy and Excalibur Mining issued statements confirming the company's shareholders were not exposed to margin lending agreements.

Global Nickel identified shareholdings that may be the subject of Opes Prime equity finance and requested a trading halt yesterday, pending the release of an announcement to the market on Monday 7 April, 2008.

Subiaco-based Balkans Gold said 35,000 shares in the company were held in an ANZ Nominees account and, if those shares were affected by Opes Prime, their sale would not adversely affect the company's share price if sold into the market by Goldman Sachs JBWere.

West Perth-based company Stonehenge Metals said they had become aware that some of its shares, held by third party interests not associated with its directors, may have been held under Opes Prime margin lending facilities.

The company said it estimated 107,000 shares or 0.19% of the issued share capital may be linked to Opes Prime.

Subiaco-based Redfork Energy said around 9.1 million shares representing 10.1 percent of the company's stock may be linked to Opes however the company could not give surety of the total number of securities affected by the Opes margin lending facilities.

West Perth-based Torrens Energy estimated about 1.6 million of its shares, or 3.2 per cent of the company's stock may be linked to Opes however, at this stage, the company cannot confirm that these shares are the subject of margin lending facilities.

The holding company of the Newcastle and Bendigo stock exchanges, NSX Ltd, said about 5.3 million NSX shares were held as part of an arrangement between a shareholder and Opes Prime.

Mobile and e-marketing company ComTel Corporation Ltd said today that all of its shares subject to an Opes Prime margin lending facility had been sold in an orderly manner.

"ComTel has been actively facilitating interested parties to acquire all of these shares, working with a broker acting on behalf of the receiver of Opes Prime," ComTel said.

Opes Prime, which specialised in the lending and borrowing of shares, was placed in the hands of receivers Chris Campbell and Sal Algeri of Deloitte Corporate Reorganisation Group last Thursday after trading "irregularities" were uncovered.

Opes owes more than $1 billion to secured creditors, primarily ANZ and Merrill Lynch.

ANZ, which is owed about $650 million, and Merrill Lynch secured their loans to Opes Prime against a portfolio of shares.

They have been selling the shares to get their money back.

Those shares originally were pledged by Opes clients in return for margin loans from Opes.

 

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