GORD­HAN VS SIBIYA

CityPress - - Business - MOY­AGABO MAAKE and MAMELLO MA­SOTE moy­agabo.maake@city­press.co.za

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.

Ketso Gord­han

Bheki Sibiya

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