Crabb boosts ‘personal balance’

11/03/2009 - 22:00

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WITH the sixth anniversary of his chairmanship at Paladin Energy quickly approaching, Rick Crabb says it's a "good business to be in at the moment".

Crabb boosts ‘personal balance’

WITH the sixth anniversary of his chairmanship at Paladin Energy quickly approaching, Rick Crabb says it's a "good business to be in at the moment".

Since the end of November 2008, the company has consistently outperformed the S&P/ASX 200 index.

The performance is on the back of the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia overcoming its teething problems and the completed commissioning of the second uranium mine in Malawi.

The miner could also benefit from a change of government in the upcoming Queensland election, with the state's Liberal Party indicating it will allow uranium mining. Paladin has a 91 per cent interest in the Mount Isa uranium joint venture, which holds two sizeable uranium deposits, Valhalla and Skal.

With all the stars aligned, Mr Crabb this week sold just over $1.4 million worth of Paladin shares, in a move he described as an "improvement to the personal balance sheet".

He sold 500,000 Paladin shares at an average price of $2.86 each, leaving him with a shareholding of more than 5 million shares valued at about $15.2 million.

Mr Crabb said the trade was the first time he has sold shares in the company in about five years.

"There's no particular reason why I've sold, other than just that these are interesting times; I've got continuing investments in other companies, we're building a house which we've been doing for a couple of years," he said.

Mr Crabb said funds from the share sale would not go towards legal action he and company secretary Gillian Swaby are taking against Merrill Lynch.

Last year, Merrill was forced to sell shares held by collapsed margin lending business Lift Capital to recoup losses.

Ms Swaby and Mr Crabb, former clients of Lift, have both claimed that Merrill did not have the right to sell the shares, which were the subject of margin loans with Lift.

Mr Crabb said he and Ms Swaby were still "aggressively pursuing" the legal action, and were buoyed by a recent New South Wales Supreme Court judgement in a separate case involving Lift and Merrill.

The case centred on whether Lift clients were made aware of the risks and nature of the share lending arrangements.

"The judgment there was very positive for our case," Mr Crabb said.

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