Denver - Greenpeace launched a website and online advertising effort today to expose how private equity investor Ross Bhappu has played a key role in coal export proposals in Oregon and Washington by bankrolling Ambre Energy, the Australian company pushing coal exports on the Columbia River. The website, www.RossBhappu.com, details how Ross Bhappu used a $110 million bet on Ambre Energy - along with the company’s difficulties attracting other outside investment - to take more control of the company at the expense of other shareholders. The online campaign follows a letter to Ross Bhappu last month from ten community and environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, calling on his private equity firm Resource Capital Funds to withdraw its investment from Ambre Energy.
The website includes information revealed by an independent auditor about a deal that positions Ross Bhappu and Resource Capital Funds to take majority control of Ambre Energy, including:
- The deal boosted Resource Capital Fund’s share of the company from 19.9 percent to 26.5 percent, and gives Resource Capital Funds the option of further increasing its share to 55 percent.
- The independent auditor considered the deal “not fair” to other Ambre Energy shareholders, but was nevertheless “reasonable” because they didn’t have other options.
- Despite Ambre executives’ confident assertions, the independent auditor estimated a 50-60% likelihood that Ambre would receive the permits needed to move forward with its Morrow Pacific coal export proposal.
The website also includes a comic portrayal of Ross Bhappu, more information about Resource Capital Funds and Ambre Energy, and the opportunity for people with information about Ross Bhappu and his investments to submit a tip. An online advertising campaign will accompany the website to make sure investors, policymakers, and communities that would be impacted by coal export proposals are informed about who is bankrolling coal export proposals on the Columbia River.
Contact: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace Communications, 831-566-5647,