Monday 28 November 2016 04:55 PM
Augusta Capital files High Court action to force NPT shareholder meeting on hostile bid
By Fiona Rotherham
Nov. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Augusta Capital has filed High Court proceedings seeking orders requiring listed property investor NPT to call a meeting of shareholders to discuss its hostile bid.
NPT has already notified the market that it will call a meeting in February 2017 to consider, among other matters, the Augusta proposal, and will advise the court to this effect, it said in a statement.
Augusta is attempting to oust NPT chairman John Anderson and directors Jim Sherwin and Tony Sewell, replacing them with its own chairman Paul Duffy and independents Bruce Cotterill and Allen Bollard. It’s seeking a shareholder meeting to vote on the board and use the forum to propose buying three buildings worth $329 million so Augusta could buy the management contract.
NPT said it has received four substantive proposals regarding the company’s future, including Augusta’s one, and has commissioned Northington Partners to make an independent assessment of them.
To allow sufficient time for this review, and taking into account the Christmas holiday break, the board considered the proposed timetable is fair and reasonable.
“The board is concerned that Augusta is trying to play a fast game in an attempt to hurry the process in its own interests,” said Anderson.
He said shareholders and interested parties should consider Augusta’s likely motives in trying to effect board changes so it would hold the majority of board seats ahead of consideration of its own proposal to assume management control.
August took a 9.3 percent stake in NPT in September in a deal with the Accident Compensation Corp, buying shares at 73 cents, above the then market price of 64 cents. NPT shares are currently trading at 65 cents.