The West

Curious case of Padbury option trades
Curious case of Padbury option trades

Padbury Mining is investigating the capacity of the financiers that offered it $US6.5 billion to build the Oakajee port and rail project, as concerns emerge about trading in the company’s shares and options ahead of its announcement last week.

A message flagging Padbury’s Oakajee deal was posted on stock market chat forum HotCopper on April 8, a day before Padbury entered a trading halt ahead of its triumphant April 11 announcement that equity funding had been “secured” for Oakajee.

A month before, big volumes of out-of-the-money Padbury options changed hands despite there being little news. Padbury admitted this week it was asked to provide documents to the Australian Securities Exchange and the corporate watchdog over its April 11 announcement.

An Australian Securities and Investments Commission spokesman would not comment but it is understood enquiries relate to both disclosure concerns and to trading in Padbury equities.

The HotCopper message was posted on a forum thread discussing Gindalbie Metals, one of the anchor customers of the previous iteration of the Oakajee plan.

In response to a discussion about the long-term outlook for Gindalbie, a poster using the name “westoil” said a trading halt would be called shortly by Padbury because Oakajee was going ahead. On March 10, more than 206 million 2¢ Padbury options were exchanged, on a day Padbury shares traded between 1.2¢ and 1.4¢, well short of the strike price.

That day the company received a price and volume query from the ASX after its shares spiked from 0.9¢ to 1.4¢.

Padbury told the exchange it knew of no reason for the jump other than a disclosed visit to Korea by senior managers.

The options expire on June 30 and Padbury shares have closed above the strike price only once in the last 12 months. That was on April 11.
Padbury options were traded on 22 days in the past year.

Padbury again failed to deliver on promises to name its mystery backers on Thursday, telling the ASX it would need until at least Wednesday to disclose the identities and terms of its funding.

The minnow appeared to be expressing caution in relation to the deal, saying it was seeking information from its counterparties on “their capacity to meet their funding obligations under the agreement”.

Those entities are understood to be companies related to Australian-registered Superkite Pty Ltd and one-time hair regrowth king Roland Frank Bleyer.

Padbury boss Gary Stokes could not be contacted.

The West Australian

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