Shareholders show confidence in Rock

SHAREHOLDERS have given The Rock Building Society a massive vote of confidence ahead of a crucial annual general meeting in Rockhampton next month.

The society's capital raising program has exceeded all expectations with existing and new shareholders pouring in $12 million in a matter of weeks.

Chief executive Derek Lightfoot told The Morning Bulletin yesterday it showed the market believed The Rock was a good investment opportunity.

The funds will help the society's expansion of mini-branches and ATMs, development of enhanced products and growth of retail deposits, he said.

Details of the program emerged as The Rock was hailed as one of the success stories of Australia's financial services sector.

“Average profits across the industry are down 24% as a result of the global financial crisis,” he said.

“Our profits are down just 3% at $4.33 million after tax.”

He said the company had cut its costs by 8% by selectively reducing staffing outside Central Queensland.

At the annual meeting next month shareholders will be asked to vote on a proposal by former managing director Kerry Daly to replace two of the current directors.

Mr Lightfoot said The Rock's overall performance in a difficult year had impressed investors and analysts in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as outstanding.

“For Standard and Poors to allocate The Rock investment grade ratings during the financial crisis, and reaffirm these in recent months, marks a major milestone for the business,” he said.

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