One of WA’s most experienced company directors, Neil Hamilton, has been charged with guiding the sale of family-owned building products and construction empire BGC on behalf of its late founder Len Buckeridge’s 15 heirs.
Mr Hamilton will take the chairman’s role at BGC after yesterday being named as one of three independent appointments to the WA-based group’s board along with another prominent director, Jenny Seabrook, and investment banker Matthew Bungey.
The trio will join the existing directors, Mr Buckeridge’s sons Sam and Andrew, stepson Julian Ambrose and long-time former executive Andrew Teo, in overseeing the sale of the $3 billion group.
“We are working as directors and as a board with a clear remit to run a professional, structured process to achieve the optimal outcome, and if we achieve that, everyone is happy,” Mr Hamilton said.
He expects “wide interest” in BGC, which straddles civil and commercial construction, home building and WA’s biggest brick maker.
“These are quality assets, and they have a very strong market position in a very important sector of the Australian economy,” he said.
Sam Buckeridge, who has managed BGC with Andrew since the death of his father in 2014, said the new directors brought “a wealth of corporate experience, including impeccable credentials in major corporate transactions, and the construction, resources., manufacturing, property and finance industries”.
Len Buckeridge’s heirs put the group on the market in May to help settle a dispute over the distribution of his fortune and avert further conflict that would have undermined BGC when his will vested next year.
There has been speculation that some candidates for the board positions rejected the company’s overtures because of the family friction, dragging out the appointments.
However, Sam Buckeridge denied any delay, saying the process had reflected BGC’s careful approach.
“We considered a number of candidates and went about it quite carefully,” he said.
“And then naturally, the people we invited to come come aboard had to make their own enquires.”
Mr Hamilton has previously chaired groups including the State-owned Western Power and LandCorp, Mt Gibson Iron, the West Coast Eagles and financial software company IRESS.
Ms Seabrook has also had numerous appointments, including Iluka Resources and the WA Treasury Corporation, while Mr Bungey is an Australian-based managing director of British bank Barclays’ investment banking division.
The proceeds of the BGC sale will be distributed to the 15 heirs through a new trust.
Len Buckeridge’s 2008 will put his shares in BGC in trust for the 15 beneficiaries – his six children, eight grandchildren and partner Tootsie – until next June.