Middlemas takes reins at Berkeley

THERE have been a series of shake-ups at stock market hopeful Berkeley Resources with chairman Brian Smith giving way to Ian Middlemas, Apollo Group taking a stake and another two stockbrokers getting on board the float.

Also on the board is Apollo Group director Mark Pearce, who joins as both a director and replaces Graham Anderson as company secretary.

Sponsoring broker Hogan & Partners has been joined by Hartleys and, according to Berkeley managing director Peter Batten, “an eastern States broker”.

Mr Batten said the eastern States broker’s involvement was still to be finalised.

There has been some suggestion that the broker is Adelaide-based Taylor Collison, however, a spokesman said she was unaware of any involvement in the float.

Hartleys investment adviser John Georgiades said Mr Middlemas’s involvement with the company had been a major catalyst for it becoming involved in the float.

“He [Mr Middlemas] put the assets to us and nickel is quite interesting at the moment,” he told WA Business News.

Mr Middlemas is also linked to Hartleys through its head of corporate finance and research Richard Simpson.

Mr Simpson’s brother Gus has been involved with Mr Middlemas in several companies including Renewable Energy Corporation Limited.

However, Mr Simpson said Hartleys’ decision to get involved with the float was more to do with Mr Georgiades’s relationship with Mr Middlemas and nothing to do with his brother Gus’s involvement.

He said Hartleys had also conducted due diligence on the float.

Both Mr Middlemas and Mr Pearce also recently took board positions at listed oil explorer West Oil.  Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show they are directors together in several companies including Renewable Energy Corporation Limited, Leyshon Resources Limited, Gowit Developments Pty Ltd, Omegacorp Limited and Oremont Limited.

Berkeley Resources managing director Peter Batten said the changes at board level had meant a further delay to the company’s listing prospects.

The company has delayed its Australian Stock Exchange listing several times. It was initially scheduled to list on the ASX in April. That date was put back to July and has once again been extended until the end of September.

“We hope to have the minimum put away by the end of August,” Mr Batten said.

Berkeley is aiming to raise $4.611 million and has set a minimum of $3.092 million.

According to its prospectus the company plans to use the money to prove up a portfolio of gold, nickel, diamond and base metal tenements in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Mr Batten said the company hoped to be drilling for nickel by the end of September .

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