Hewson’s corporate bad luck continues with Elderslie

Former Liberal leader John Hewson’s resignation as chairman of troubled Elderslie Finance Corporation, just two days before trustee company Perpetual started legal action against it, comes eight months after he resigned as chairman of struggling biodiesel company Natural Fuel.

Elderslie, which claims to control investor funds of $200 million and offers structured finance products, debentures and unsecured notes, is embroiled in court action with Perpetual, which has sought court orders to stop Elderslie accepting money from the public or paying investors.

ASIC documents show Hewson resigned as chairman of Elderslie on 3 June. Perpetual started legal action against Elderslie on 5 June and were back in court this morning. The case continues.

Hewson would not comment.

Hewson is best known in business circles as a former executive director of Macquarie Bank and a former chairman of the Australian arm of Dutch investment bank ABN Amro.

But Hewson’s resignation from Elderslie is the second time in eight months that he has resigned as chairman of a small company.

Last year, Hewson resigned as chairman of struggling biodiesel company Natural Fuel. The company, which listed in December 2006 at $1.50 a share, had also been sold off heavily in the last year. Natural Fuel shares had fallen to 22.5c by the time Hewson resigned as a director on 30 October 2007 and have since dropped to around 9c.

Hewson is currently a director of struggling private healthcare operator Pulse Health. The company posted a loss of $482,260 in the six months to 31 December 2007. While this was an improvement from a loss of $712,065 in the previous corresponding period, the company’s share price has been under severe pressure. In the last 12 months, Pulse’s share price has more than halved, falling from 21c to just over 8c.

In mid-April, Hewson became chairman of privately-owned IT company Pisces Group, which provides software to mortgage brokers to help them compare loans, assess borrowing capacity and transfer loan applications between brokers and banks.




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