Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines

FORTESCUE chief financial officer and CEO-elect Elizabeth Gaines made a good fist of walking the walk and talking the talk at Fortescue’s investor call for its December quarterly report, writes Barry FitzGerald.

Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines Swirl of challenges for Fortescue's Gaines

In what was Nev Power’s last results presentation after nearly seven years as CEO, Gaines’ speaking spots on the investor call were naturally enough restricted to matter financials, both scripted, and in answer to questions.

She came across as confident, and across the issues. It’s just as well given the swirl of challenges Fortescue faces, a situation reflected in its 15% share price slide in the last 12 months.

Chief amongst the issues is the duration of the oversized price discount Fortescue has been copping. It’s a US$2 billion-plus annual revenue headache at present. 

Then there is the task of making further inroads in to a cost base where all of the easy fat has already been cut, and deali...