Vote controversy hangs over the Glanbia ballot
Glanbia Co-op's drive to spin out 10pc of the society's stake in Glanbia Plc has been rocked on the double over the last week.
Claims that ineligible voters took part in the first ballot have resulted in an application to ICOS for arbitration on an alleged breach of the society's rules.
In addition, the admission by ICOS that 32 more votes were cast in the first ballot in Gowran Park than there were eligible registered voters has proven seriously embarrassing for both the co-op body and Glanbia.
Glanbia insisted yesterday that tomorrow's confirmatory ballot would go ahead despite the last-minute difficulties. However, the continuing controversy has cast a shadow over the whole process.
Tomorrow's vote, if passed, would see Glanbia Co-op's stake in the Glanbia Plc drop from 51.4pc to 41.4pc. The 10pc is valued at around €230m. Close to €70m is earmarked to provide additional equity for the new dairy processing venture involving both Glanbia Co-op and Glanbia Plc. The remaining €160m is to be spun out to the co-op's 16,000 shareholders in the form of plc shares.
However, tomorrow's motion also includes a rule change. This would see the threshold for key ballots drop from the current 75pc to 66pc. In addition, A2 shareholders would effectively become A1 shareholders.
A1 shareholders are defined as active milk suppliers and farmer traders with Glanbia. A2 shareholders are recently retired milk suppliers or farmers who traded with the co-op.
The dispute on the society's rules centres on the eligibility of A2 shareholders to vote on motions that deal with changes to the society's rules.