Ed's message (6/5)

WINTER has arrived, but Gold Coast businesses are red hot on the idea that crisp concepts and persistence can create vast opportunities both here and abroad.

Take the ASX-listed Icon Energy for example. The coal seam gas explorer (CSG) is undertaking a bold capital raising venture to significantly increase its reserves and is confident of increasing its market cap to $300 million in 18 months – an increase of around $180 million.

The company’s $36 million joint venture with the State Government-owned Stanwell Corporation is set to generate electricity for thousands of Queenslanders. Icon is planning further wells in the Surat basin, on farming land to the north of Goondiwindi; in Roma, north Queensland; and in South Australia over the next 18 months.

Icon managing director Ray James is the focus of the June cover story. The benevolent James was ceremoniously backed by shareholders last year during an attempted management takeover. He emerged as the company’s largest shareholder and will drive a plan to drill an additional 40 wells in the next two years.

Also, Gold Coast minerals explorer CuDeco will sign a deal to supply vast copper quantities to a manufacturing plant in China. The deal will see CuDeco supply up to 50 per cent of the company’s copper, to produce small gauge products including copper tubes and wiring. The Top 300 ASX-listed company is also looking at a potential listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Another bolter tempting tastes offshore is the ubiquitous Burleigh Heads-based international confectionary designer Chocolate Graphics International. The company is marching ahead with plans to open 5000 retail outlets world-wide.

CGI burst onto the retail market in the US after signing a deal with Westfield in Newport Beach. Setting up its first production centre at Southport in 1999, the company has since paved its custom chocolate success stories into the UK, Mexico, Dubai, Russia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Chile. Next month Canada is set to become part of the Chocolate Graphics chain.

Whilst on the subject of goodies, Ruben’s Fine Foods is expanding its product range and spreading export opportunities across the Asia Pacific. The Nerang-based company specialises in producing pâte and is in demand by major retailers across Australia and specialty delicatessens in Singapore and Indonesia.

In property, we talk to the man re-building relationships and a future Surfers Paradise landmark – the Hilton Hotel. Brookfield Multiplex’s managing director of residential property George Kostas, affirms the project is on track after original developer Raptis Group buckled with debts totalling $750 million.

Kostas told Gold Coast Business News that the two-stage project will create 2900 jobs, while $2.2 billion will be injected into the local and regional economy over the life of the asset.

Finally, we are pleased to launch our first motoring page off the grid in conjunction with the Bruce Lynton Group. Check out the fastest accelerating diesel in its class – the new MINI Cooper D in this issue.

Jason Oxenbridge

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