BWX top executives could return if management buyout fails
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BWX top executives could return if management buyout fails

Cosmetics maker BWX could welcome its chief executive and finance director back into their roles should their bid to privatise the company founder.

Chief executive John Humble and chief financial officer Aaron Finlay have been on leave since May after teaming with Bain Capital to launch an $800 million bid for the company valued at $6.60 a share.

After failing to attract any competing interest, BWX on Monday extended the agreed due diligence period into September and stressed that no binding bid for the natural skincare products maker had yet emerged.

John Humble (left) and finance director Aaron Finlay.

John Humble (left) and finance director Aaron Finlay.

Photo: Michael Dodge

BWX independent director Ian Campbell,  who has headed the independent board committee assessing the management-led buyout, said it was possible Mr Humble and Mr Finlay could return if the deal did not go ahead.

"That is one of the options. They would either stay in the business or not stay with the business," he said.

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Asked if investors would would be keen to have the executives back given their bid to take the company private and an apparent disagreement with the board over continuing the company's acquisition streak, Mr Campbell said: "That is a very fair question.

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"Before any decision for the executives to return, the independent board would have to decide that that was in the best interest of shareholders," he said.

If Mr Humble did leave, he would remain a significant shareholder in the company courtesy of his 9 per cent stake.

Mr Campbell played down any entanglements from that situation, saying that the company had a "number of large investors who are quite happy to be shareholders".

Mr Campbell said interim chief executive Myles Anceshi was doing a good job in the meantime and the presence of the bid was not interfering with the day to day operations of the business.

He also said it was encouraging that the bidding consortium had asked for more time.

The face that an extension of time was requested ...[means] there is still interest there in completing the transaction.

Ian Campbell

"The face that an extension of time was requested ...[means] there is still interest there in completing the transaction," he said.

BWX on Monday unveiled a 42 per cent lift in net profit of $13.4 million for the full year and declared a dividend of 4.2 cents per share payable on October 12.

The market initially dragged BWX shares down as low as $4.55, before they closed down about 2 per cent at $4.77.

A spokesman for the Bain consortium declined to comment.

Mr Anceshi told Fairfax Media the company would also fight a court case brought by an aggrieved advisor in America who claimed to have been cut out of the management buy-out after helping hatch that strategy.

Mathew Dunckley is business editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Based in our Melbourne newsroom, Mathew has almost 20 years as a journalist and editor.

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