Kerry Co-op pushes ahead with cash-for-shares offer after vote at Tralee SGM
Kerry Co-op will go ahead with a cash-for-shares redemptions scheme following a vote at its Special General Meeting in Tralee.
A second resolution that sought to ringfence 96.5pc of the Kerry Group shares held by the Co-Op for redemption - in the current or future schemes - was narrowly rejected by 17 votes. Kerry Co-op chair Mundy Hayes said this does not in any way impact upon the Share Redemption Scheme proceeding, due to the passing of an earlier resolution at the SGM.
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"We are very pleased to have received the go-ahead from members to proceed with the scheme, which gives all members the opportunity to redeem their shares for cash.
"We are even more pleased by the high level of applications from members, a five-fold increase on our original expectations. The level of applications is a ringing endorsement of the scheme," said Mr Hayes.
"The board recognises the evolution of the Co-Op and the differing ambitions of shareholders. As previously stated, this is a voluntary scheme that we believe is the best option currently available to members to address the ongoing liquidity issue raised by members in recent years."
He added that the board is making no recommendation to members in relation to participation in the share redemption scheme itself and is urging members to obtain professional financial and taxation advice before making any decision on participation in the scheme.
However members of the Kerry Co-op Shareholders Alliance say the rejection of the second vote gives a clear message that shareholders want a more tax-efficient option to spin out their shares.
"Despite the scheme being rejected at the SGM the Kerry Co-op board are going to make it available to shareholders anyway. But I would urge shareholders to not avail of it and wait until a capital gains tax scheme is offered instead," said Alliance member and Listowel farmer Dave Scannell.
Serious differences have emerged in recent months between the Kerry Co-op board and a section of its shareholders, some of whom are represented by the Kerry Co-op Shareholders Alliance.
Alliance members want to sell their remaining 13.7pc stake in Kerry Group, and share the resulting dividends, worth on average around €165,000, among co-op shareholders.