Home / World News / Robert Richter hits back after helping Tom Percy at Nex Metal

Robert Richter hits back after helping Tom Percy at Nex Metal

Top Melbourne silk Robert Richter is among Nex Metal Exploration investors fighting to kill a share seizure action being mounted by battling suitor Metalicity.

Mr Richter’s lawyer Leo Tsaknis claimed that Metalicity’s WA Supreme Court action was launched in breach of takeover laws after Nex shareholders twice refused to sack the target company’s board.

Mr Tsaknis said attempts to replace existing Nex directors, including chairman and senior Perth barrister Tom Percy, were designed to influence how the target company responded to Metalicity’s long-running bid.

“The allegations all relate to the target’s response to the bid,” Mr Tsaknis said.

He made claims on behalf of five Nex share holders who gave proxy votes in favour of Mr Percy, Nex managing director Ken Allen and non-executive director Hock Hoo Cha at shareholder meetings in March and July.

Nex share holders and Metalicity faced off in the Supreme Court just hours after the suitor confirmed to the stock exchange that its bid would not be extended beyond Monday evening Perth time.

Metalicity has gathered more than 34 per cent of the target’s shares in a takeover bid that has been marked for almost a year by Takeovers Panel applications, litigation and public slanging between the gold joint venture partners.

Metalicity’s latest legal action, lodged on July 27, is aimed at 28 investors who own a total of 22.3 per cent of Nex shares and helped stop the hostile suitor replacing the target company’s board.

The suitor wants the 22.3 per cent stake to be disregarded in counting the meeting votes, and for those shares to be seized and then auctioned by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

In their application to kill the Supreme Court action, Mr Richter and four other investors claim the row is captured by broad provisions in the Corporations Act requiring matters related to live bids to be decided by the Takeovers Panel.

Mr Tsaknis said an announcement made by Metalicity when unveiling its March board replacement bid had referred to Takeovers Panel findings against Nex. “It is effectively to control Nex, which is its target,” he said.

But Metalicity lawyer Gary Cobby said the suitor’s meeting announcement had raised concerns about corporate governance at Nex.

Mr Cobby described as “speculation” the claims by Mr Tsaknis that boardroom spill motions were related to the takeover bid and the proposed new directors would change the target’s company’s responses.

Justice Jenni Hill reserved her decision until Wednesday morning.

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