Wednesday 29 January 2020

One51 CEO will be challenged to quit at AGM

shane ross

Gerry Killen, leader of a strong dissident shareholder group at energy and food business One51, will challenge chief executive Philip Lynch to step aside at Wednesday's AGM.

Last night, Mr Killen said that he would be asking Mr Lynch to stand down while an independent investigator probes a patent royalty scheme that has paid out millions to executives in One51. The payments were made through a network of companies called Chandela.

Mr Killen insists that he will be carrying millions of proxies when he and others quiz Mr Lynch and the board at the AGM in Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.

He intends to use them to oppose the re-election of three directors -- chairman Denis Buckley and ordinary board members Hugo Maguire and James Murphy. He is hoping to replace them with former Beamish and Crawford chief Alf Smiddy, ex-Ibec director Peter Brennan and himself.

The meeting is expected to be packed, with supporters of both sides turning up in force. The country's co-ops, including Kerry and Lakeland Dairies, are among the largest shareholders.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent last night, Mr Killen upped the temperature for the meeting, insisting that he intended to query the accounts issued last week. "They are unaudited but I want to challenge several of the assumptions in last year's annual report, including the valuation put on the stake in NTR," he said.

"The report values One51's shares at €3.71 while at current levels they are offered at only €1.70 in the grey market, a difference of €80m."

Mr Killen's group also intends to query the spending of €1.3m on a buyback of shares and wants to know the identity of the sellers.

Last night, Mr Killen set the tone for the AGM, accusing Mr Lynch of building "a Frankenstein with no heart" after five years at the helm.

Sunday Independent

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