'Twiggy' Forrest: opportunities ahead in Asia

The often-controversial founder of iron ore giant Fortescue Metals knows how to ride liquidity cycles and thinks Asia should build a debt market to rival Wall Street.

Twenty years ago, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest had abandoned his pastoral roots and was plugging away at a modest nickel project in Western Australia. The processing plant used new technology, involving leaching igneous rock with sulfuric acid in huge high-pressure autoclaves, but production delays and a liquidity squeeze saw Anaconda Nickel default on its bonds. Eventually Forrest’s small shareholding was swallowed up by bigger investors.

It was a taste of what hostile capital markets can do to a high-growth, high-risk business and Forrest has vowed never to be caught out again. “Instead of thinking there’s something wrong with your business, you have to ride liquidity squeezes like other cycles and be...

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