The West

PaperlinX appoints challenger to board
PaperlinX appoints challenger to board

UPDATE 2.45pm The man who tried to unseat PaperlinX chairman Harry Boon has been appointed to the board of the struggling paper merchant.

PaperlinX said today it had appointed Andrew Price as a non-executive director of the company, effective from September 1.

At an extraordinary general meeting of PaperlinX shareholders in March, Mr Price sought to oust Mr Boon as chairman and gain his seat on the PaperlinX board.

But PaperlinX shareholders endorsed Mr Boon by a narrow margin.

Mr Price, an experienced and former manager in the paper sector, and his associates held around 30 million shares in PaperlinX at the time.

Since the March meeting, PaperlinX has completed a strategic review of its operations and its chief executive, Toby Marchant, has left the company.

Mr Price in March told shareholders Mr Boon had been an integral board member during a time PaperlinX had performed very poorly and management had made excuses "year after year".

Today, Mr Boon said the pair had since discussed Mr Price's potential contribution to returning PaperlinX to profitability.

"Following the recent completion of the strategic review, and our announcements of the sale of assets and the repayment and restructuring of some debt, the time is now right for Andrew to join the board in the next phase of implementing the ongoing restructure program," Mr Boon said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Mr Price said he was pleased to be joining the PaperlinX board, after having spent recent weeks in Europe reviewing several of the company's key operations.

"I look forward to making a significant contribution to the current restructuring of the scaled-down business which should lead to a return to profitability through lower costs, more efficient order-to-fulfillment processes and a diversified product range," he said in a statement.

PaperlinX made a loss of $60.9 million in the six months to December 31, an annual loss of $108 million in the 2010/11 financial year, and a $225.3 million loss in the 2009/10 financial year.

The company has blamed bloated costs and a decline in demand for paper among the reasons for its disappointing performance.

PaperlinX in July said it had completed a strategic review of its operations, which had involved cost reductions, the sale of non-core assets, and building the company's business in non-paper areas such as signage and display and packaging materials.

PaperlinX has said it would take all of the 2012 and 2013 financial years to restructure the company, and shareholders would see the benefits of cost savings from 2014.

Shares in PaperlinX were 1.7 cents higher at 6.7 cents at the close.

The West Australian

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