By John Helmer in Moscow
These days investors in gold-mining stocks are behaving like diners in fashionable restaurants, subject to the same fitful appetites. On Tuesday, for example, they sold Highland Gold (HGM:LN) down 21%. But on Wednesday, they bought it up by 20%. Highland is now trading at its all-time low since listing in 2002. No doubt, like watercress soup, a sour taste goes out of fashion from time to time.
Saki once reported the trick of conveying information intended to impress in up-market restaurants. “By insisting on having your bottle pointing to the north when the cork is being drawn, and calling the waiter Max,” he wrote, “you may induce an impression on your guests which hours of laboured boasting might be powerless to achieve. For this purpose, however, the guests must be chosen as carefully as the wine.”
When Highland Gold was chaired by an English peer of the horse, betting and Tory set, a cultivar of Roman Abramovich, who brought Highland Gold into the London market, it was a simpler matter for the company to invite investors than it is today. However, Lord Daresbury stepped down in December 2004, to be replaced by James Cross, a deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank, when certain monies required for Highland’s treasury were dispatched by Harmony Gold at the say-so of its then chairman, Adam Fleming, and his protégé, Bernard Swanepoel. They did much to charm over concerns about the transfers, and into subsequent troubles Highland ran into with Russian assets it didn’t quite own, and an asset Abramovich sold to Highland at a premium for himself. Those stories can be found in old Mineweb menus: