Last Thursday Gunns Timber applied to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) for a temporary trading halt. Gunns indicated two days and promised a statement later in the week. That was a week ago and trading is still in a halt.
Amid speculation that the timber giant is on the ropes and taking a voluntary count until the bell, the notice issued to the ASX says the company needs to provide clarity to the market and will give an update later in the week. It is still unclear which week this will be.
It looks as though the fighter has returned to the corner and is either dodging the punishing blows of a tumbling share market or is trying to goad the Tasmanian State Government into paying $100-million in compensation, for ending logging in native forests. That seems a bit like taking the prize before the fight's outcome has been decided.
Either way, all is quiet in the blue corner and the crowd's speculation continues to rise. The public has seen the smoking 'Gunn' and knows exactly who to blame for the state's unemployment and development woes over the past 30 years. It will be a brave Premier who tries to return to the old model and no amount of ducking and weaving will dodge the obvious knock out blow. If The Tasmanian State Government capitulates to the demands of Gunns, after cutting a similar amount of money from the health budget, the fight will likely be taken to the streets and the gloves will be off.