Rinehart’s Hancock Will Correct Wrong Share Coding

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty said it will correct a share code in documents that created confusion following a stock transfer from a unit of a multibillion-dollar trust.

The April 26, 2012, transfer of 51,584 Hancock Prospecting D-class shares to a company named GH Rinehart as Trustee for the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust was coded DRP in a May 29 filing, suggesting it was a dividend reinvestment plan. The stock, moved from HMHT Investments Pty, a unit of the trust, should have been coded DPR, for D-class preference shares, said Jay Newby, Hancock Prospecting’s chief financial officer.

“We will lodge a correction” on the typographical error, Newby said in an e-mail today, after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said one was needed.

Rinehart, Asia’s richest woman, is being sued by two of her children over control of the trust, which owns 23.5 percent of Hancock Prospecting. Her son John Hancock questioned the concept of a dividend reinvestment plan last week, saying it would be against the interest of the beneficiaries, Rinehart’s children, who haven’t received any distributions since the lawsuit was filed in September 2011.

D-class shares are preference stock given priority for repayment in the event the company is wound up, according to Hancock Prospecting’s 2012 annual report. There were 51,584 D-class shares outstanding on June 30, 2012, the report showed.

Hancock Prospecting first changed the coding to DRP from DPR in its 2002 annual report, Troy Daniel, a spokesman at the commission, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Probably Typo

The change was “most likely a typo on their part,” Daniel said. “If the class should still be DPR the company needs to lodge forms to correct this.”

Hancock and his sisters Bianca and Hope Rinehart Welker sued to remove their mother as trustee of the trust, claiming she breached her duty and failed to act honestly. Welker pulled out of the lawsuit earlier this year and is now named as a defendant. Ginia, the youngest of the billionaire’s four children, has sided with her mother since the suit was filed.

Based on current valuations, the trust holds almost a quarter of Rinehart’s estimated net worth of $19.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which ranks her as the world’s 35th richest person.

The transfer of the D-class stock occurred a day before Rinehart moved two shares of the trust to Hancock Prospecting, a separate filing showed.

Both share transfers took place days before Rinehart allowed the trust to vest on April 30, 2012 and less than a week after a New South Wales Supreme Court judge ruled the family dispute would be heard publicly.

John Hancock called it “strange timing” on the shifting of the shares.

There is no dividend reinvestment plan with respect to any shares in Hancock Prospecting, Newby said in an e-mail on May 31. “The funds remain in the trust -- there is no disadvantage to the beneficiaries.”

The case is John Langley Hancock v. Gina Hope Rinehart. 2011/285907, New South Wales Supreme Court (Sydney).

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