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Shareholders find Hardie on the move again -

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ELEANOR HALL: First it outraged shareholders by moving to the Netherlands, now the controversial
building products company James Hardie wants to move to Ireland.

And investors are not happy.

The move to Dublin will cost nearly $100 million although James Hardie says it will save on tax.

Shareholders are to vote on the proposal at an extraordinary general meeting in Amsterdam on Friday
but the company is holding an information meeting in Sydney today.

Our finance reporter Sue Lannin joins us now from there.

So Sue what is the mood of the shareholders?

SUE LANNIN: Well it's pretty angry Eleanor. Shareholders think that they're losing their rights
because the company is moving from the Netherlands to Ireland. One shareholder, the shareholder
activist Jack Tilburn describe it is a shonky and sleazy proposal, a con job.

James Hardie told investors today the reason they were moving to Ireland was not to save money on
tax but because the move would allow the key executives to spend more time in their major markets
such as the United States

And they also say that it will enable a more beneficial tax treatment between the US.. because at
the moment James Hardie is risking losing US$50 million per year because of tax disputes with
United States authorities.

However Stephen Matthews, another shareholder activist that is here today from the Australian
Shareholders Association, says the move to Ireland is a waste of money.

STEPHEN MATTHEWS: There seems to be something in this company's genetic makeup that causes it to
gravitate to tax minimisation as a quick way of making money. And there's a fallout from that.

One is of course it means there's less money for the asbestos victims. It also poses a change in
their constitution which will allow the directors to dismiss any of their number who don't toe the
line. And this opens up all sorts of possibilities for conspiracies. It may not be in the best
interest of shareholders.

SUE LANNIN: And that's Stephen Matthews there from the Australian Shareholders' Association.

Now he raised that during the meeting today and the company actually said that it would reconsider
that proposal.

ELEANOR HALL: So Sue what impact will this move have on the asbestos compensation fund?

SUE LANNIN: Well the company today said that it didn't... well it couldn't give any guarantee really
altogether in regards to anything; so it couldn't give a guarantee. But it says that because
there's a slump in the US in the housing market there and profit... the company's been in loss,
money's not going into the asbestos compensation fund anyway.

The company said it was worried about that but it had a commitment that victims of asbestos
diseases would be compensated.

ELEANOR HALL: And what was the size of James Hardie's recent loss?

SUE LANNIN: Yes, the first quarter loss is around $95 million, as I said that's because of the
slump in the housing market. It was also pulled down by the cost of asbestos compensation and also
expenses from the court case that it's had with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission
as well as tax payments.

Now, the chief executive Louis Gries says there is a very, very low level of activity. There's
revenue down across all the businesses in the US, Europe and the Asia Pacific. And in fact it's not
optimistic about Australia or New Zealand because of soft demand there.

However, Louis Gries says he is more optimistic about the United States.

LOUIS GRIES: It does feel like we're getting near the bottom. Things are flattening out. Our
volumes month to month this summer had been relatively consistent. So, we kind of read that as we
are kind of bumping along at the bottom. But I'm not saying it's not possible to get further
declines but right now it doesn't feel that way.

ELEANOR HALL: That's James Hardie's chief executive Louis Gries and our finance reporter Sue Lannin
at that information meeting in Sydney.