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NZX clarifies chief executive evidence

Mark Weldon
Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mark Weldon Photo / Mark Mitchell

NZX has moved to clarify statements by chief executive Mark Weldon during court proceedings in Victoria in May about subsidiary, the Clear grain exchange.

A Melbourne court ordered NZX to pay Clear co-founder Grant Thomas $A259,705, due under a settlement deal made last year.

Then early this month NZX said it was taking legal action in relation to the deal to buy Clear in 2009. Thomas was among those NZX named in the action.

Today NZX said selective and isolated extracts of Weldon's evidence during the court proceedings in Victoria had been reported in the media.

A reported reference to a "substantial economic loss" for Clear was intended, in context, to refer to the 2009 and 2010 calendar years.

Those amounts had already been included in the NZX 2009 and 2010 full year financial accounts.

In addition to being specific to two previous calendar years and limited to the Clear business alone, Weldon's comments were both historically accurate and not material in the context of the NZX Group as a whole, NZX said.

They were not intended to refer, as had been implied, to either the current or prospective performance of Clear, or the NZX Group.

NZX also said it had been, and remained, in compliance with its continuous disclosure obligations.

On Friday the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) said it was questioning NZX about potential breaches of its own rules for disclosing information on time.

The FMA said it was aware NZX was undertaking an inquiry into matters relating to Clear. It had asked NZX some questions and was following the NZX inquiry with interest.

In today's announcement, NZX also said its board confirmed that the carrying value of Clear on the NZX Group balance sheet remained unchanged.

In the past 10 days the NZX board audit and financial risk committee, with external review from auditors KPMG, had carried out a thorough financial, operational and strategic review of Clear and its carrying value.

To assess the appropriateness of the carrying value, significant emphasis was placed on long-run assumptions. Sensitivity analyses, stress testing and various market scenarios were carried out.

Those demonstrated that, to sustain its carrying value on the NZX Group balance sheet, Clear needed market share in relevant market segments - not the entire Australian grain market - around 7 per cent by 2015.

Clear was now estimated around 4 per cent of the relevant market, NZX said.

In the latest NZX annual report the Clear grain exchange was valued at just over $8m

- NZPA

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