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New Hope's garbage day strategy seems well short of full disclosure

Business

With a beautiful sense of timing, New Hope announced the resignation of its chief executive on a Friday afternoon when the nation was transfixed by the Ashes, the Djokovic debacle, the looming weekend or sitting on the beach.

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It’s known in the media as garbage day, a time when politicians use the cover of major news events elsewhere to disclose something they would prefer not to.

We will never be sure whether New Hope was cynical enough to employ the garbage day strategy because it won’t talk.

There was no reason given for the resignation, no narrative or strategy announced. Simply, Reinhold Schmidt had resigned after a short period of personal leave. That was it.

When you are holding on to almost $2 billion in shareholder wealth that is not good enough.

What are we to make of it? The company was not fielding any further inquiries on the issue. It just pulled the shutters down.

The only thing we know is that it was sudden because New Hope did not have a replacement picked.

It simply left the issue open to too many questions. Was there internal turmoil?

For investors it is not good enough that a company announced a key executive had resigned without at least indicating that it related to health or family reasons, or even issues external to New Hope.

It served no one to remain silent and the company should know better and it thoroughly deserved to see its share price slide more than 4 per cent on that basis.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Land Court, in its judgment on the Acland expansion issue, said New Hope’s initial reaction to community concerns over dust and was “lacklustre” and it said the company “may never recover its social licence in the Acland community”.

Schmidt appeared to have done a good job in his relatively brief time with New Hope and the company’s share price had shown improvement along with a stronger coal price.

Similarly, investors were increasingly left scratching their heads about Novonix, the Brisbane based battery materials company whose shares appear to be mimicking a yo-yo.

On Monday morning, its shares rose 10 per cent adding $480 million to its market value, then fell 11 per cent. The was some market speculation on battery related stocks, but nothing tangible, just like the last month when its shares plunged 30 per cent in one day.

 

 

 

 

 

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