Tuesday 16 October 2018

Aryzta investors may oppose AGM vote on board acts

The report states that under Swiss law, discharge from liability is binding for shareholders who vote in favour of this proposal “which can hinder legal claims”.
The report states that under Swiss law, discharge from liability is binding for shareholders who vote in favour of this proposal “which can hinder legal claims”.
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Shareholders in Swiss-Irish food company Aryzta may oppose a vote to ratify the acts of the board at this week's agm "given the service of former ceo Owen Killian" during the period, according to leading proxy advisor Glass Lewis.

The report states that under Swiss law, discharge from liability is binding for shareholders who vote in favour of this proposal "which can hinder legal claims".

However, Glass Lewis said that it found that the board acted quickly following the severe profit warning issued in January 2017.

"As such, while we believe that some shareholders may choose to oppose this proposal given the service of former ceo Owen Killian on the board in the prior reporting year, we find no compelling reason to believe that the board as a whole has failed to fulfil its duty to shareholders in the past fiscal year," said the report.

An Aryzta spokesman said the annual discharge proposal is a standard resolution put forward by Swiss companies each year.

Market sources said that while Aryzta shareholders are angry with past performance, legal claims from shareholders are extremely rare in Europe.

While new chairman Gary McGann and ceo Kevin Toland are making significant changes at the company, Glass Lewis also raised concerns about the bumper windfalls senior staff would receive if the company were taken over. It said that could be a disincentive for potential buyers. Aryzta said this was an existing provision.

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