INDUSTRY COMMENT

Andrew Kent, chair of Aspermont Limited, passes away

Aspermont chair Andrew Kent (1947-2023) was a self-made man with a strategic global vision. He was a driving force behind Aspermont’s remarkable transition from an Australian print publisher in the 1990s into today’s leading international media tech company, with over thirty digital brands, 4 million subscribers and the most significant database for the world’s global resource industries: mining, energy, and agriculture.

MJ Staff
 Andrew Kent pictured during his time working in London

Andrew Kent pictured during his time working in London

As the only son of a Hungarian Jewish family disrupted by the rise of post-war socialism, he emigrated to Australia as a child refugee. He was not daunted by learning English and developed into a prodigious chess player and sportsman.

After university, Andrew became a stockbroker, where his worldview and intuitions about human behaviour saw him develop into a very successful share trader.

Andrew relocated to London in 1971, where he became involved in the mining community, trading mining stocks on an international basis at Joseph Sebag and then at WI Carr.

In 1979, Andrew and two close friends acquired control of London stockbroker TC Coombs, determined to create a global business focused on the natural resource sectors: mining, oil & gas, and agriculture.

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Andrew and Alex Kent (left) with family
 

TC Coombs became very successful, with regional offices monitoring mining and oil/gas opportunities in Australia, Asia, Africa, and North America, providing research for global and regional investors and corporate support for individual companies.

Andrew saw that brokers and bankers approached the resource sectors regionally rather than globally, and the TC Coombs model worked. He saw the same in media, where the only entities providing global coverage were the print publications Mining Journal and Mining Magazine.

After broking, Andrew relocated to Perth as a mining entrepreneur, intending to build a media business. From the outset, he aspired to acquire the Mining Journal titles to merge with Aspermont's Australian publications, which was achieved in 2008.

The Mining Journal acquisition established the first global publisher for the mining industry and came with a combined plus-300-year publishing legacy. 

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Andrew Kent (right) pictured with Aspermont COO Ajit Patel (centre) and CFO Nishil Khimasia

 

The timing was propitious

In 2002, Aspermont established the first b-to-b media subscriber paywall with miningnews.net and had developed the capability for global digital distribution by 2008.

These were pilot tests to build platforms for the digital distribution of all content, opinions and data on mining, which took until 2017 and saw an explosion of new subscribers. Aspermont is now led by his son Alex, who has put the management team together to upscale Aspermont to digitally deliver content across the resource industries in new languages and jurisdictions.

As a person, Andrew was larger than life in every sense, powerfully built and with an incredible intellect; he was gregarious by nature, interacting with friends and business contacts on multiple levels, often simultaneously.

He had an exceptional memory, storing all his experience, which was his knowledge capital. Andrew was a lateral thinker, and conversations with him were never dull. He was a one-in-a-million in his chosen mining and oil/gas sectors.

He was universally respected as he was involved in many big projects, such as financing the gold super-pit with Alan Bond, the Cooper Basin gas discoveries, and his last venture, the Barrytown mineral sands project being developed in New Zealand.

Another aspect of Andrew Kent was his mentoring, compassion and caring. Tributes are flowing from journalists, some famous, grateful for the international perspective Andrew brought to their work. The same is true of prominent business figures worldwide, as Andrew was recognised for his achievements and was a legendary lunch partner, dispensing wisdom, fine wine and accurate reminiscences about past mistakes and successes.

Key management and journalists loved having a relationship with Andrew because he opened their minds to the bigger picture. The global upscaling of the Aspermont model was his longstanding ambition, and he knew as he died that it would be delivered with the management team now complete and in place.

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Andrew Kent with Family
 
A unique and remarkable man - who was adored by his wife Maria, sister Agnes, children Laura, Alex, Casey and Hugo and all his grandchildren - has passed on. He is hugely respected by the Aspermont board, management team and staff determined to deliver on Andrew's vision.

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