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Fencemaker's testing time

Shoeshine

Friday 14th November 2003

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A lot of ingenuity was expended this week working out theories on who's behind the appearance of Tru-Test-bashing coverage in the media and why.

The issues are old ones. First, the company didn't live up to the 2001 information memorandum ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) forecast of $18.3 million for the August 2002 year.

That's disappointing for everyone but in the context of a rocketing exchange rate, low beef prices for Tru-Test's customers and the Australian drought, it's scarcely surprising.

The Neuronz purchase has also aggravated some shareholders but, like the company's financial performance, that was known before last year's annual meeting, at which, apparently, no questions were asked.

The theory getting most traction is that someone is trying to unsettle shareholders and turn up the gas on Tru-Test's board and management to smooth the path of a takeover.

The natural candidate for the bidder is Skellmax Industries, whose largest shareholder, Axa Asia Pacific, has 5.67%.

It's a small country. Axa is also one of Tru-Test's shareholders.

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