In January 2013 local and national media reported that the Australian National University (ANU) was still a significant shareholder in Metgasco Limited, a coal seam gas exploration and production company operating without a social license on the NSW North Coast.
When caught out ANU pleaded that there were few buyers for Metgasco shares.
To date there has been no announcement that ANU has divested itself of the 2,500,000 Metgasco shares it held as of September 2012.
So how genuine is the University when it comes to ethical investment?
After a Student Union campaign, on Tuesday 11th October 2011 ANU's vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young announced the university investment fund would sell-off $1 million worth of Metgasco shares.
The next day Professor Young stated; We've had those shares since 2001…. They represent less than 0.1 per cent of our total investment portfolio.
However, share movement indicates normal investment trading from 2004-2012, rather than any desire on the university’s part to divest itself of all Metgasco shares from October 2011 onwards.
For interested readers – here is a brief history of ANU shareholdings according to Metgasco company documents:
Between 2004-2006 the Australian National University is not on Metgasco’s 20 Largest Shareholders list.
“Metgasco completed two private placements and a Share Purchase Plan during the year.
The Share Purchase Plan was strongly subscribed with over 70% of shareholders taking up their rights to participate.”
The Australian National University Investment Section - 1,250,000 shares representing 1.03% of all issued Metgasco shares as of 31 August 2007.
Making it the 14th largest shareholder.
ANU holdings increased by an unquantified number of shares.
The Australian National University - 2,712,000 shares representing 2.05% of issued Metgasco shares as of 17 September 2008.
Making it the 11th largest shareholder.
ANU holding increased by 1,462,000 shares.
The Australian National University - 2,500,000 shares held representing 1.34% of issued Metgasco shares as of 15 September 2009.
Making it the 11th largest shareholder.
ANU apparently divested itself of 212,000 shares
The Australian National University - 2,283,333 shares representing 0.91% of issued Metgasco shares as of 22 September 2010.
Making it the 12th largest shareholder.
Apparently ANU divested itself of 216,667 shares.
On 17 June 2011 “the Company launched a Share Purchase Plan (“SPP”)….
In mid-2011 we raised new capital of $21 million via a targeted placement and a Share Placement Plan for existing shareholders….”
The Australian National University - 4,206,409 shares representing 1.25% of issued Metgasco shares as of 16 September 2011.
Making it the 10th largest shareholder.
ANU holding increased by 1,923,076 shares.
NOTE: On Tuesday 11 October 2011 ANU informed the Students Association that it was intending to sell an estimated $1million worth of Metgasco shares, after a campaign by students which one would presume occurred over a number of weeks or months.
The Australian National University - 2,500,000 shares representing 0.64% of issued Metgasco shares as of 21 September 2012.
Making it the 17th largest shareholder.
ANU apparently divested itself of 1,706,409 shares.
ANU’s current total number of Metgasco shares held is now the same as its September 2009 total.
ANU Environment Collective
The Daily Examiner 26 February 2013:
A GROUP of students is claiming victory today after learning the Australian National University sold its remaining shares in gas mining company Metgasco.
Vice-Chancellor Ian Young sent an email to ANU Environment Collective spokesman Tom Swann this morning revealing the shares had been sold.
"I am informed by the ANU Investment Office that the university has now divested itself of all shares in Metgasco," Mr Young's email read.
APN Newsdesk has contacted ANU seeking confirmation about the sale and answers to other questions.
Mr Swann said the EC campaign to have ANU sell its shares in Metgasco began two years ago after the group was contacted by activists in areas where Metgasco was mining…..