Mincom chairman steps aside

The resignation of Mincom chairman David Graham is unlikely to mollify dissident shareholders in light of the software company's failure to attract new investors.

Graham is due to step aside today at an annual general meeting where Mincom was hoping to unveil a positive result from its four-month global search for capital.

The equity hunt, conducted by Deutsche Bank, has turned up one group with whom negotiations are still under way, according to Graham.

But the exercise evidently has fallen far short of Mincom's preferred options of a complete buyout or a $50 million injection of funds.

The unlisted public company now is pinning its hopes for a return to profitability on a plan to slash costs.

Graham would not be drawn on whether the plan involves deep cuts in Mincom's 1100 workforce.

"But the human component forms the largest part of our cost structure so you can draw your own conclusions from that," he said.

Mincom will limit growth-oriented investments and focus more sharply on recurring revenues from its maintenance, processing and consulting businesses. Those three steams combine to make up about 70 per cent of Mincom's revenues, according to acting chief financial officer John Hickey.

The company will continue to develop its major software products but could scale back its accounts and sales force.

It will also look at consolidating office infrastructure that now extends across 19 locations in 15 countries.

The cost-cutting measures do not fill dissident shareholders such as former Mincom executive Bill Hodgson with confidence.

"This is not a strategy, it is just survival and we have continued erosion of shareholder value," Hodgson said.

Class A shareholders, mainly current and former employees, hold 78.5 percent of the company's shares.

Hodgson claimed many are "fed up to the gills with the way this board operates...".

Melbourne entrepreneur Wayne Bos, who tried to force his way onto Mincom's board earlier this year, is ruling out a repeat performance.

Bos remains scathingly critical of the board's performance, but says "I am not going to force myself on anybody".

This year Bos has disengaged himself from several technology-oriented companies and it appears he will emergefrom the changes with personal control over options for 19.9 per cent of Mincom's shareholding.

Before he has the numbers to effect any board changes, however, he will need to win the support of at least one more major Mincom shareholder.

That's unlikely, at least in the short term, according to Hodgson, because the other major players are backing the current board.

"I ask myself daily what it is going to take before [other] shareholders realise how badly they are being screwed and act to remove the source of the problem. But you wouldn't want to hold your breath waiting."

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