GORDHAN VS SIBIYA
Afew of PPC’s minority shareholders were not deterred by the company’s rejection of their bid to call a special meeting of shareholders and continued to buy more shares on the market to bring their shareholding to the volume required to call another meeting.
On Monday the board, led by executive chairman Bheki Sibiya, rejected a request for a special meeting from two fund managers – believed to be Foord Asset Management and Visio Capital Management – after a third fund manager pulled out.
Without the support of the third, the shareholders did not have the 10% of the shares needed to call the meeting.
But Bloomberg reported that Foord subsequently raised its stake in the company and would ask for another meeting.
Azola Lowan, PPC’s investor relations and strategy executive, was tightlipped on plans for this meeting. He said the company was engaging with shareholders and would soon make an announcement. Foord’s Carolyn Levin declined to comment. The special meeting will support ousted CEO Ketso Gordhan’s bid to return to the company. He resigned after a fallout with the board, which was headed by Sibiya, last month when it would not let him get rid of another executive he claimed was obstructing his strategy. Gordhan had previously canvassed shareholders about his reinstatement. The fund managers want to replace Sibiya’s board with a new one that will include Gordhan, along with four existing directors.
PPC claimed that the four directors said they were not approached by the fund managers for nomination, and were not available for re-election.
It added that the entire board had accepted Gordhan’s resignation and, as there had been a breakdown in trust between the two parties, forcing the four to work with him would not be in the interests of shareholders nor would it make for an effective board.
Asked if he would have been able to work with them, Gordhan told City Press he was in the dark about the names of the directors as the matter was between shareholders and the company.
“I think it is appropriate and necessary for shareholders to act to protect their interests, and I support what they are doing,” he said.
Another executive at the cement producer quit this week, saying he did not want to be associated with the saga. Richard Tomes, joint MD of PPC Cement SA, resigned on Thursday. “I felt that the time was right to make a clean break as I did not want to be associated with what is happening in PPC at the moment,” he told City Press.
“I’m sure things at PPC will stabilise and [the] company will continue to do well in future, and I wish them well.”
Despite the boardroom tussles, PPC said it would continue with its search for a new chief executive.