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Re: [sharechat] Chris Castle and Widespread

From: "David & Jill Stevenson" <>
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 2003 22:25:02 +1300

I write this partly to decide for myself the merits of this float . Chris Castle was one of four founders, including Professor Buckingham of the Otago University  School of Mining.( So he kept good company) when. they started up Crusader Minerals Ltd back in the 1980`s.
Another of the Directors was my then next door neighbour a geologist. . . Subscriptions were on the basis of 1 share at 40 cents plus one option at 1 cent attaching to each share. From memory the shares went well over a dollar and  the options skyrocketted  partly because the Head shares were tightly held.. Unfortunately partly because Helen Clark was in control of the Conservation portfolio of the then Labour Government  and despite compliance with all aspects of the mining licence application the company never undertook mining or even processing of old tailings at either Monowai or Maratoto. The Company was later renamed  Spectrum Resources Ltd and later was used by others as a shell company for totally different  activities.
   Castle cut his teeth with the early days of Brierley Investments Ltd. He started up Regina Confectionary in the South Island. I would see him as a pretty credible individual. Certainly a genuine mover and shaker, like his then mentor.
   Castle returns to the Stock Exchange by a back door listing of his investment company Widespread portfolios through former stockbroker NZIJ - Widespread was created in 1989- so it is no fly by night hare brain scheme. Last Balance date 2003 it had NTA 58.9cps. It`s portfolio included -
   (1) Asian Mineral Resources (49% of portfolio) that company is a Vietnam based nickel explorer seeking a listing in Canada. 
   (2) Olympus Pacific (14%)  - A Canadian listed Vietnam based gold explorer.
   (3) Zedex (NZ Listed Facility 20%)                         "          "        "       "    .
   (4) Vaaldiam Resources  (11%)   A Canadian listed African Diamond Explorer .
                  NTA has increased from 58.9cps to 98.8cps since March 31 due to revaluation of The Asian Mineral Resources investment . From time of it`s start up and this year Widespread achieved a compounded annual return on it`s investments of 17.6%  post operating costs and tax. It would be worthwhile to examine what contribution revaluations  made or is it that revaluations are not taken to revenue ?  I notice that Fletcher Forests take revaluations to revenue. I suppose that is understandable.   
   NZIJ has distributed shares in it`s stockbroking business to shareholders and was to make a scrip based bid for Widespread portfolios. The offer was to be 35  NZIJ shares valued at 2.5 cents each for every one Widespread share thereby  valuing W. shares at 87.5cps and up to 258 million new NZIJ shares were to be issued
   NZIJ shares were trading at 19cents in October, as a guide - well above NTA (post aquisition) .
       Castle believes Asian Minerals has huge potential . That his backdoor listing would attract overseas investors once on the Main Board. Unlike in the 1980`s heis investment has no borrowings. (a discipline learnt from his one time mentor probably)
   I note Vaaldiam was to acquire a Brazilian Diamond Property ( March 2003 - whether that happened I do not know)  It is interesting that if that transaction was completed Vaaldiam would have held a 100% interest in 37 mining claims and exploration permits.  That prospect seems to have even attracted the interest of De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.
                                   Hope this helps in some way, though I don`t venture an opinion.
                                                                                      David Stevenson

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