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ENRC, Corporate Governance & Networks

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Ah, ENRC - or Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation - where does one begin in this tale of woe ? 

Its own latest news on its website (link above) is dated 19/07/2013 and is titled:  'Legal claim against Sir Paul Judge'.

Here is the Guardian story on that.

In case you don't know him, Sir Paul Judge is also one of the newly elected sheriffs of the City of London. (Did you know that the general public are asked to cough up with donations out of 'goodwill' to pay for the badge and chain of a sheriff? I find that rather extraordinary, especially if it is an individual who is facing any kind of a charge - innocent until proven guilty notwithstanding)

Sir Paul has threatened a countersuit against ENRC.

But moving along - as it's a very long story that is  clearly not done yet - ENRC, having had a turbulent time being listed in the London market which involved the words 'corporate governance' coming up rather a lot, decided it would delist. Gosh, how time flies- I hadn't realised till I looked at the Management Today story that it was FIVE years of boardroom rows. 

Then Kazakhmys, a major shareholder, backed a bid for ENRC. That was June 24, 2013.

Only - and I hope you're keeping up - by July 29, 2013 there had clearly been a lot of conversations behind close doors. Because the FT exclusively reported the thinking behind what was being seen as an underpriced offer....and there's a paywall here so I quote a bit of FT story in case you don't have access to FT.com.


"Simon Heale, chairman of Kazakhmys, says he will “be happy to exit the relationship” with ENRC, which five years ago seemed likely to be combined with Kazakhmys to create a diversified central Asian mining group spanning copper, iron ore and other metals....

“We want to put a clear distance between our companies. It’s an association that has had a lot of baggage attached to it,” says Mr Heale." (my emphasis)

And then this morning Rob Davies had this story : 'Watchdogs urged to halt delisting of scandal-hit ENRC.'

So it looks as if it may not be possible for the company to bolt out of the scrutiny that is meant to accompany a plc.

My thoughts on all this are about networks. Oh - but before that, here is some news today on the former ENRC chairman Mehmet Dalman - who always had a great reputation in the City and left ENRC - but look where he has popped up, and at the headline... The other headlines on stories covering his new role at Cardiff seem to put an inordinate emphasis on his Cypriot background suddenly. Which only goes to show how much damage ENRC may yet do to reputations.

So, about those networks. I have just a couple of thoughts. 

The first is that it is really important to keep exposing them - and 'connections' between people and institutions and transparency. Because 'networks' love opacity, it allows for opportunity, greed and non-disclosure.

(On my own networks here, I served on the Cambridge University Alumni Advisory Board with Sir Paul Judge for three years and was Deputy Chair to his Chair position on the Communications Sub-board...so I do know him.)

And the second thought is you should not assume that those who write about corporate governance are somehow 'outside' networks and are just 'the good guys.' Because it blatantly isn't true. I can think of at least one high-profile corporate fovernance commentator who, as far as I know, has never uttered a peep about ENRC - and you only have to look at the 'connections' to understand why.

Note- the search engine here does work if you want to look back at previous coverage here of ENRC. Now about that idea for a 'good governance index' - think what it would do to put the 'repute' back into 'reputation.'


Categories: Governance, Transparency, Scrutiny