GREAT to see that hard times at the Myer family's wealth management group, the Myer Family Company, have not stopped top brass getting a pay rise.
According to accounts filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the company slumped from an after-tax profit of $269,000 in the 2011 financial year to a loss of $109,000 in 2012.
The accounts provide a tiny keyhole through which to peer jealously at the patrician clan's financial affairs. Those affairs are otherwise invisible because, under rules brought in back in 1995 that protect old money from the prying eyes of riff-raff, parent company the Myer Family Company Holdings doesn't have to file accounts.
While 2012 was perhaps not ideal, the Myer Family Company's books also show that 2011 was also hardly fantastic - the company's operating profit was just $338, with the rest of the net result made up of tax benefits. In 2012, the company also slimmed down, deregistering its legal and tax services subsidiaries.
Despite the company's woes, executive pay expanded pleasingly, swelling from $3.48 million to a touch under $4.1 million.
While the accounts don't let on who got how much, they do reveal that nine key management personnel shared the spoils, including CEO Peter Hodgson, CFO Janine Ferguson, HR director Clare Bird and managing director of family and wealth services Graham Reeve.
They also show that the company provided $1.9 million of financial services to members of the board, which abounds with Myers and members of the cadet Shelmerdine branch of the family, on ''normal commercial terms''. About $410,000 of that was still owing at the end of the financial year.
And the company also purchased ''wine and consumables from related entities and associates of directors''.
Again, just who sold the booze isn't disclosed. However, the Shelmerdines do own some rather lovely vineyards in Heathcote and the Yarra Valley …
IT is of course inevitable that Mrs Gina Rinehart will eventually rule over all of us (or at least the productive part of the country that digs stuff up and sells it) as the first Queen of Westralia.
But until the moment she ascends her rightful throne, Australia's richest person runs Hancock Prospecting. And until extremely recently, the letters ''CV'' appeared immediately following Rinehart's name on the company website.
Immediately CBD thought of Australia's honours system, where CV is the abbreviation for ''Cross of Valour''.
The cross is Australia's highest bravery decoration, awarded ''for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril'', and just five people have been gonged since Gough Whitlam abolished imperial honours in 1975.
HRH (in waiting) Gina has performed many acts of political bravery in her time: standing on the back of a truck chanting ''axe the tax'' during anti-mining-tax protests; calling for a tax-free utopia in the Top End to entice developers into the Pilbara; and asking plebs to work harder and booze less.
But the cross tends to be awarded for things like rescuing kids from flooded drains and chasing down armed robbers. Sadly, it turns out CBD was confused.
As it happens, the CV abbreviation after Rinehart's name doesn't stand for ''Cross of Valour'' at all - it stands instead for ''curriculum vitae''.
''I placed the information on the web page, and I thought that it was clear that CV meant curriculum vitae in that position,'' Hancock Prospecting's information manager, Mark Bickerton, told CBD.
''However, I will amend the website immediately and write curriculum vitae, in full, for clarity.''
In the red
David Knox, chief executive of Santos, strayed a little off-message when he followed in the wake of Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the International Energy Agency.
Granted his very own copy of the IAE's World Energy Outlook, Knox marvelled aloud to van der Hoeven and others at the Australian Institute of Energy conference in Sydney at how red our planet appears on the report's cover. Was the red an indication of how the world would look if carbon emissions weren't checked, he mused, before declaring ''if we don't get into action the world will go red!'' Trouble is, some of the action Knox has in mind for Santos won't exactly keep a lid on those emissions. In his keynote address, Knox noted how Santos has stakes in four new liquefied natural gas ventures, two of them worth $18 billion or more.
Stephen Wilson, general manager of energy industry analysis at coal miner Rio Tinto, had a bit of stab too. The world would find it ''hard'' to keep global carbon dioxide levels to the 450 parts per million level seen by scientists as crucial if temperature increases are to be contained. As for the IEA's view that increasing energy productivity might delay the 450ppm level by five years to 2022, Wilson - a former energy efficient expert himself - was sceptical: ''You'd have to throw everything at it to get it to work.''
Presumably ''throwing everything'' doesn't include canning plans for more coal mines.
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