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Investors shrug off Betfair governance concerns at AGM




(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)


Investors in UK gambling firm Betfair, which is headed by former Paddy Power executive Breon Corcoran, have ignored calls for them to punish the company over corporate governance issues.

Influential UK shareholder lobby group PIRC urged shareholders this week to use their votes at Betfair's annual general meeting in London yesterday to block resolutions including one that would have adopted the annual accounts, as well as others on director re-elections and pay. But the calls fell almost entirely on deaf ears.

Earlier this year Betfair admitted that it had been advised that it did not have sufficient distributable reserves to pay dividends in 2011, 2012 and 2013, or to engage in share buybacks.

PIRC said the payments were illegal under company law and said the issue raised a number of serious corporate governance issues.

It has also asked shareholders to vote against the remuneration policy.

It said the chief executive pay is "not considered in line with the company's financial performance over the last five years".

PIRC had also asked shareholders to vote against the re-election of Betfair chairman Gerald Corbett.

It failed to succeed on either count.

Mr Corbett was comfortably re-elected, with over 99pc of votes cast in favour of his reappointment to the board.

The remuneration policy was also passed.

The only black mark was on a resolution to approve Betfair's report on remuneration. That was opposed by just under 32pc of the votes cast.

Shareholders were also buoyed by very strong trading at Betfair.

Irish Independent