Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Abano dissidents admit defeat in stoush, vow to fight on

Abano dissidents admit defeat in board stoush, vow to fight on

By Pattrick Smellie

June 13 (BusinessDesk) – Dissident shareholders seeking removal of Abano Healthcare chairman Trevor Janes admitted likely defeat at the special meeting to vote on the issue in Auckland today, amid accusations of predatory behaviour from other shareholders.

The meeting took 90 minutes to get to the vote on the single item on the agenda: a motion from founder Abano director Peter Hutson and fellow shareholder James Reeves to remove Janes.

Abano forced Hutson’s resignation in the course of a failed takeover bid last year by Archer Capital, and had feared retail shareholders might side with Hutson and Reeves, who control close to 20 percent of the company.


More than 82.5 percent of Abano’s shares were voted at the meeting, and 76.6 percent were against the resolution of Hutson and Reeves to remove Janes as a director. Excluding shareholdings associated with the pair, the resolution garnered just 0.79 support, the company said.

“It appears from the votes cast today that we are not going to have justice, certainly not this week,” said Reeves in his address to shareholders outlining why Hutson and he believe Abano is failing to execute its strategy to grow a dental business of scale in Australia.

“What you can rely on is that we will remain as shareholders, will continue to be vigilant and to monitor the performance of the company and will be holding the board to account in respect of their governance practices.”

The chairman of the New Zealand Shareholders Association, John Hawkins, holding proxies for 5 percent of the Abano register, called on Hutson and Reeves to mount a Takeovers Code-compliant takeover bid for Abano or sell their shares.

“Continuing disruption will only result in loss to all shareholders”, who had found Hutson’s and Reeves’s arguments “totally underwhelming,” said Hawkins to applause from the 90 or so shareholders who attended the meeting in person.

Another shareholder described Hutson and Reeves as “two predators of the worst kind” who were seeking to cheat shareholders out of value. “Shame on you,” he said to the pair, who sat stoney-faced in the front of the meeting.

Hutson faced questioning on the structure of the Archer bid, which would have seen him and Reeves acquiring Abano’s 50 percent share in a jointly owned audiology business for “a nominal sum”, and declined to say what that sum would have been had the bid succeeded.

Doyens of the institutional investor community also weighed in on the Abano board’s side.

Milford Asset Management principal Brian Gaynor said he found Hutson’s criticisms of Abano’s Australian growth strategy “strange” when they mirrored the strategies pursued when Hutson was growing the business in New Zealand.

Fisher Funds chief investment officer Mark Brighouse, accompanied by the firm’s principal, Carmel Fisher, was scathing of Hutson’s and Reeves’s attempts to dress up their response to an unsuccessful takeover bid as shareholder activism.

While the meeting had been a “delightful” opportunity for the company and its shareholders to catch up, “I think it’s time we all got back to work,” he said, also to applause.

The shares last traded unchanged at $6.90.


(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news