Tuesday 21 November 2017

Rebel investors at One51 threaten to call EGM if their concerns not met

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Rebel shareholders at investment group One51 will call an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the company next week if they don't get substantive answers to concerns they've raised related to the group's strategy and payments to directors.

The disgruntled investors, who will table a range of questions at One51's annual general meeting next week, will also be pressing One51's chairman, Denis Buckley, to reveal the recruitment process used to select the managing director for Irish Pride, a firm that's wholly owned by the group.

Therese Lynch, the daughter of One51 chief executive Philip Lynch, was appointed to the MD position at the bakers about 18 months ago. She joined the firm in 2005 as commercial director, the same year that One51 was spun out of food and agri group IAWS, where she also held management positions.

The activist shareholder group is being led by Gerry Killen, a former employee of One51 who sold a majority stake in electrical goods recycling business TechRec to the group in 2005.

He has mustered the support of shareholders holding at least 10pc of One51's equity and is thought to hold as much as 20pc, although he declined to confirm the amount of proxies he now holds prior to the AGM.

Another investor, John Hegarty, is also backing Mr Killen.

Mr Lynch told the Irish Independent yesterday that he's "not going to be distracted from the day job" amid the showdown.

One51, whose shares are traded on the so-called 'grey market', owns large stakes in ferry operator ICG, financial services group IFG and former West Link and Airtricity owner NTR.

Mr Killen said yesterday that Irish Pride is an asset he thinks should be sold. It's believed the business, which reported a €62m turnover last year, could fetch between €30m and €40m.

Nominees

Mr Killen and Mr Hegarty will also today reveal the names of two nominees to the One51 board. Mr Killen, who will be one of three nominees, declined to name the other two, only to say that they are high calibre business people.

Mr Killen said that if substantive replies to the 25 questions submitted to the One51 chairman are not received at the AGM, then he and fellow investors will call on the company the next day to hold an EGM within 21 days. That would enable the group to further interrogate One51 executives.

Mr Killen also wants One51 to divulge details of a controversial €5m tax-free payment made by the group to a subsidiary, Protech Performance Plastics, which subsequently paid the same amount to a company called Chandela Nominees.

One51 has previously confirmed that about half that money was paid to a group of executives over a three-year period.

Irish Independent

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