Former China ambassador Geoff Raby punts on coal, not mobile tech

Geoff Raby, the former Australian ambassador to China. Photo: Brendan EspositoASX-listed mobile payments provider SmartTrans was showing off its smarts by going without a chairman for a few days.
Nanjing Night Net

SmartTrans announced on Monday, that our former ambassador to China, Geoff Raby, stepped down on April Fool’s Day.

Replacing him as chairman is our former deputy PM and Nats leader, Mark Vaile, who joined the board on Monday.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see if this game of corporate “chicken” catches on as a way to save money: How many days could one of our big four banks go without its CEO and the highly paid minions?

SmartTrans said Raby stepped down “due to the growing demands of his own business and other board positions”.

This means that Raby has chosen to retain board positions at coal casualty Yancoal – which reported a $291 million loss last year as it shed jobs and shut mines – over SmartTrans, which has signed up emerging giants like China Mobile.

What does this tell us about his excellency’s views on the future development of the middle kingdom? Or, is it SmartTrans’ future as a transaction provider to China Mobile’s 700 million customers that is in question.

SmartTrans has a $100 million market cap, which is more than the value shredding Yancoal can currently boast.

Vaile will shoulder the load at SmartTrans despite his own coal challenges as a board member at Whitehaven. Quick flick

“This is a long game, no question. I think you have to have a business that’s ultimately founded on rational economic principles.”

These words of wisdom came from Quickflix founder Stephen Langsford soon after US behemoth Netflix entered the market last year.

As Mike Tyson once said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Quickflix is now leaving no stone unturned as the embattled streaming service tries to avoid becoming the first local streamer to be steamrolled by Netflix.

The Sydney and Auckland offices are being streamlined into extinction along with 15 per cent of the Perth company’s staff and one of its board members.

And the pain won’t stop there with Langsford one of two senior execs taking a significant pay cut. And part of his reduced pay will be deferred until the duo succeed with a $2 million capital raising.

Langsford might need to offer incentives to Nine Entertainment/Fairfax Media streamer Stan if he really wants the raising to succeed.

Quickflix has said previously that its capital raising plans have been hobbled by Stan, which holds $11.6 million worth of equity rights that ensure it stands in the queue ahead of any new investors that might want to inject some cash. Stripped back

The corporate plod has stripped the last G-string of respectability from the corpse of ASX-listed lap dancer Planet Platinum.

ASIC announced on Monday that it had won an application to the Supreme Court of Victoria declaring that the appointment of Gideon Rathner as administrator in May last year “was invalid, void and of no effect”.

ASIC reported that “the Court found that the only reason the directors had appointed Mr Rathner as an administrator was for the improper purpose of stopping ASIC from appointing a provisional liquidator to the company, and not because they had formed a view that it was insolvent or likely to become insolvent”.

That must be good news for Planet Platinum, its staff and investors.

Rathner has been ordered to repay $136,594 to the liquidator of Planet Platinum. According to ASIC, Rathner is entitled to make a claim of payment with the liquidator who can then assess the validity of the claim.

Victorian judge John Efthim handed Planet Platinum to liquidator John Lindholm just before Christmas, citing governance concerns related to its founder, John Trimble, nephew of the late crime boss “AussieBob” Trimbole.

Of particular interest was Planet Platinum’s apparent reluctance to collect a $2.7 million debt owed by a company associated with Trimble.

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